Business and Heartbreak
By Marilyn Tam
“Violence is what happens when we don’t know what to do with our heartbreak… learn how to allow your heart to break open to embrace the lessons with compassion, not broken into sharp shards that hurt others as well as yourself”
- Parker J Palmer, author, educator, and founder of the Center for Courage & Renewal.
Dr. Palmer directed the above quotation at leadership and democracy, but I think it applies to how you should manage your business and life too. Violence in business and life thankfully does not usually degenerate into physical force, but the above concept is instructive in how we deal with all our challenges.
When we have a life or business challenge, do we narrow our focus to how we can get out of the immediate circumstance, or do we expand our vision and strategy to learn how we can improve the results for this and other situations?
With a challenge is looming in front of us, it is easy to fall back into a reflexive mode. We want to make the problem go away immediately, but a decision made in haste or from anger is less than ideal. The flight or fight instinct is activated and to respond aggressively or retreat without full consideration of the options, often prove to be worse than the initial situation.
Many years ago when I was Vice President of Nike Apparel & Accessories, we were faced with a severe shortfall in sales on our launch line of Major League Baseball apparel. The customers stayed away in droves. Several retailers wanted us to take the merchandise back because it was performing much less than planned. My first snap reaction, after the initial shock, was to investigate how we can stop all ongoing production and get out of that business.
Taking a moment to center myself, I started the process of what I call PAGDE. After the initial pause, I assessed the total situation, not just the feedback from a few extremely vocal people with strong opinions who spoke up...