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Last week I had a meltdown.  I’d been working on a project I thought would take two or three weeks.  Six weeks into the project not one, but two issues, both outside of my control, surfaced.

One’s been lingering for a couple of weeks and has been exasperated by the weather.  The second is one that could cause a further delay, expense, and effort on my part.  It was that second one that pushed me over the edge.

Fortunately, it was the end of an incredibly long day, so I had the chance to distance myself from the situation and gain perspective.  The next morning, I thought it through.

  1. I’ve moved these issues as far along as I can. There are other companies responsible for the next steps.  My only recourse is to ensure they’re aware of and accept responsibility for each issue, get a commitment, then stay in contact with them.
  2. There are a lot of other activities requiring my attention and effort.
  3. Stewing over this issue is a non-value add activity.

Once I got to #3, I had a blinding flash of the obvious when the last phrase of the Serenity Prayer, “and the wisdom to know the difference.” came to mind.  I started the day by contacting each company, then got back to those other activities that I could complete.

Even though I didn’t yell, curse, or cry, I’m still embarrassed about that meltdown.

Leah Ward-Lee is a management consultant and business writer based in Dallas, Texas and the author of $1,000 Start-Ups.  Her next book, The Executive’s Toolbox, will be released soon.