No One Likes This But We Can’t Get Away From It

3 Steps To Dealing With Tension In Life

No one likes tension. However, we live in a world where tension is inevitable.

Here are points of tension that you may deal with this week:

  • maximize profit vs. more revenue
  • demands at work vs. time with family
  • coaching an employee for development vs. for performance
  • strategic vs. urgent
  • save vs. spend
  • working with an employee vs. helping them move on
  • working hard vs. taking time to rest

No one likes tension but it’s impossible to live a day without having to deal with it. You can’t ignore it. You can’t avoid it. So how do we deal with it? We learn to EMBRACE the tension.

Most people get frustrated with tension. They try to make it go away. The challenge with tension is it’s often between two good things. For example, working really hard at work to finish that key project and prioritizing time with your family. Both are important. If you remove the tension by eliminating or ignoring one for the other you will either lose your family or your job.

Sometimes tension is between the ideal (ex. your high values and standards) and the reality of where you are today. This tension often discourages and leads to feelings of hopelessness because it seems like you have so far to go. This tension either causes people to flee or never to step into the situation in the first place. For example, a department or company that is failing and needs to be turned around. Most leaders would avoid this situation but those that know how to embrace the tension see this as an opportunity.

How do we embrace the tension?

  1. Acknowledge it. Recognize it as tension. Help others recognize what it is. Give it a name. Help them realize that this isn’t a tension to be resolved but it needs to be embraced.
  2. Understand the WHY. Why does this tension exist? How did we get here? Where are we going? Why are both sides of this tension necessary?
  3. How will you manage the tension? Knowing that this tension can’t be ignored or avoided, what does it look like to live with it? What tools, techniques and systems need to be in place to manage the tension in a healthy way? Talk with your team, leader, spouse, or children about ways to manage the tension you’re facing.

Question: What is the biggest tension you’re facing right now? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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