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When the Watering Hole Shrinks, the Animals Look at Each Other Differently
by Rhoberta Shaler, PhD

I've heard it said that when the watering hole shrinks, the animals look at each other differently. That's the way it is at work when downsizing is occurring, too.

We look at each other differently. Our competitive nature may leap to forefront. Our suspicions about people's motives and behaviors arise. We watch for political moves. In fact, we become hyper-vigilant. Everything is a 'sign'. Watch out for this.

You can only do the best possible job you can do. Be wise. Be pro-active. But, be assured that some things in the equation are entirely out of your control. When you live each day in fear, you are paying attention to what you don't want. Newsflash! Paying attention to what you do not want attracts just that into your life.

Does that sound simplistic? In fact, it is not. It is simple but profound. Who is in charge of your attitudes? Who is in charge of your sense of self? Who is in charge of your behavior? Obviously, it's you. What are you paying attention to? How is it affecting the quality of each day?

I was working with a coaching client the other day who was obsessing about losing her job. At the beginning of the lay-offs she had been twenty-five from the bottom of the list. Now, she is fourth--and with twenty-five years on the job. Naturally, she was concerned. And, she was at the top of her 'what if?" game. What if I lose my job? What if the economy doesn't turn around? What if I can't get another job? What if I don't have the rent money? What if my relationship suffers? What will happen to my pension?

I didn't suggest to her that there is no wisdom in keeping her eyes and ears open. I did not suggest that she hide her head in the sand about the current conditions. Of course, reality exists. I did suggest, though, that her power was in her ability to keep the bigger picture in mind. Who was she? What were her strengths? How did she demonstrate what was important to her every day at work? What does she have control over and how can she exercise her options?

Fear causes folks to panic, to forget themselves. Normally pleasant, cooperative people clam up and keep their cards close to their chests. Out-going people may talk more because they are anxious. Quiet folks may withdraw for the same reason. Fear exaggerates the negative in life. Don't let that happen. Get on top of it right now.

I'm talking about your overall game plan in life. Make it as positive as you possibly can. Focus on what you want, where you're going and how you're going to get there. Make your conversation about what you want to attract into your life. Fill your mind with pictures of your ideal job, ideal relationships, ideal life. Only when you can clearly see the outcome you want are you likely to take a direct path to it. Remember that line from Alice in Wonderland, "If you don't know where you're going, any path will take you there." Know the destination and create the path.

How does this translate to daily life at work when fear lurks? Again, your greatest choice every day is your attitude. Where are you placing your energy? How pro-active are you being? Are you willing to ask questions that will help you make good choices and better plans?

Secrets seem to abound in workplaces that are dwindling. Some people are 'in the know', others, 'out of the loop'. Ask questions. Get the facts. Be grounded in reality while steadfastly focused on the outcome you want.

If you believe in cooperation and collaboration, demonstrate it in the workplace consistently. Remember, whatever you value must be part of what you do and say every day, no matter what the climate or scenario. Don't be pulled off course from your beliefs and values by fear. Don't let the attitudes, fears and follies of others sway you from your path.

Even if the lions are at the door, your best plan is to keep your head. Be true to your values. Be pro-active. And, definitely, don't feed them.

(c) Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, San Diego, CA.. All rights reserved worldwide.
Rhoberta Shaler, PhD may be contacted at

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler, a noted international speaker and author, is the founder of the Optimize! Institute, and Your Spiritual Home, a worldwide center for Practical Spirituality & Everyday Myth. Her mission is "To uplift, inspire and motivate people worldwide to find joy, peace and success on their own terms". She is the author of Optimize Your Day: Practical Wisdom for Optimal Living and Wrestling Rhinos: Conquering Conflict in the Wilds of Work, as well as many other books and audio programs.



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