If you have kids then you know that they have this need for instant gratification. They want something. They want their way. They want it now. In our house we would respond to the tantrum, the rant, the whine, the pleading by saying, “You know what Mick Jagger says. You can’t always get what you want.”
In life and at work, we get into a rhythm and we want things to go the way we want. Guess what? Mick’s lesson applies to us as well. As we plan for the future and as we imagine our career we don’t always get what we want. In an environment typified by constant change and ever-increasing complexity this becomes truer every day.
Being too old or self-conscious to throw a tantrum, rant, whine, or plead to the universe, what are we to do? How can we respond to the curves that get thrown our way? It’s not so simple as “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” And, it’s not so difficult as quantum mechanics either.
We need a way to deal with change that keeps us from firing before we aim and making a challenging situation even worse. Here’s how to AIM:
Step Zero. Breathe. You’d be surprised how beneficial two to five minutes of focused breathing can be in calming our minds. Self-soothing is something we teach our kids to do and is a foundation of emotional intelligence: self-regulation.
Step One. Attend. Be present. Pay attention to the world around you. What opportunities can you exploit today? What risks are right in front of you and need to be avoided?
Step Two. Imagine. Get creative. Don’t jump from reactivity to action. Consider all the possibilities in front of you. What are the ways you might exploit the opportunities you see? What are the ways you might avoid the risks in your path? What are the implications for each option you see?
Step Three. Move. Don’t take too long to get calm, focused, and clear about what needs to happen. Develop a plan of attack and go after it.
After all, while you can’t always get what you want, you just might find, that when you breathe, and AIM, you get what you need.