Clarity in the Midst of Chaos

water dripClarity in the Midst of Chaos

I give a talk for my corporate clients called “Finding Clarity in the Midst of Chaos.” A few days ago I had ample opportunity to practice what I preach.

My sweet, beautiful little getaway in Wimberley was flooded. (Word of caution: cheap plastic inlet connectors to your toilet are keeping the water restoration industry in healthy shape.)

Fortunately, we were able to get the insurance adjuster and the water restoration company to come out immediately. But that meant that everyone and everything was happening at once. There were also conversations to have with my husband, and I was desperately trying to dry out my archive of Dad’s photos, letters, and documents in between long trails of paper towels circling the wraparound porch.

It was chaos.

I must say, I think I fared pretty well. (Like many people, I tend to do better in crises than in ordinary chaos. Something preternaturally calm and neutral and clear-sighted kicks in.)

Here’s a few of the techniques that worked for me:

“Yes-and.” Honor the other person’s position and state your own position. “I understand that you’re concerned about getting paid. And I’m concerned about getting overcharged.”

Limit distractions. My very first mantra was “one thing at a time,” so I was prepared for this one. When several people were asking me to do several things at once, I explicitly organized the requests. “I’m doing this now, and I’ll do that next.” Or, “I can’t do that right now because I want to finish doing this first.”

Say what you need. I couldn’t focus on reading the contract (yes, my personal policy is to read all the fine print) when the crew chief was sitting next to me talking on the cell phone. “I can’t concentrate on this contract while you’re talking. I’m going to take this around to the other side of the house.”

Ask clarifying questions. This one is easy for me. I’ll ask every question I need to in order to understand the situation. And as you can imagine, understanding insurance coverage required a lot of clarifying questions. For example, “What’s the difference between ‘personal property’ and ‘manuscripts’ and ‘documents’?”

Email me: what are your favorite techniques for finding clarity in the midst of chaos?

Photo by shaferlens

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