Have you ever heard someone at work say, “Time to go into battle!”? I’ve heard people say that when they are heading into a particularly challenging negotiation, whether it’s with a customer, vendor or peer. I’ve also heard people say that when they were just talking about going back to work after a short break.
Why do some people use that phrase? Do they really see it as a battle? With most battles in war, there is a clear winner and a clear loser. And of course, as we honor our veterans on Veteran’s Day, many military personnel who head into battle know that they may not come out of it alive. I don’t think most of us in business have that risk with our daily “battles”.
On this Veteran’s Day, I’d like for us to consider a couple of different points. First, if you are one of the people who refer to a negotiation or your work environment as a “battle”, please consider utilizing a different phrase. By telling yourself in advance that it will be a battle, it is more likely to become one! You have just told your brain to expect a battle, and it will oblige. Studies have shown that what you focus on expands. (Have you ever thought about buying a particular make and model of car and then started seeing them everywhere?) Perhaps you could instead say, “Time to have fun!” Even if you don’t really think it will be fun, you have set a different expectation for your brain. It will be looking for the “fun” and you are much more likely to enjoy the experience along the way.
Second, most of us know veterans who have served our country. Please make a point today and every day to thank them for their service. They are the reason we are able to enjoy the level of freedom we have today. And many of even the youngest veterans have already experienced more “battles” and loss than I will in an entire lifetime. That’s quite a sacrifice that they have made for all of us.
Veterans, thank you for your sacrifice and service!