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Friday, June 27, 2008

Guest Post from Scott Couchenour - Balancing Bad News With Positive


I am amazed at how much media airtime real estate is consumed by bad things that have happened. Recently I was listening to the radio in my car. Within a 30-second spot, I learned a baby was left on a doorstep (umbilical cord still wrapped around its neck), a man was sentenced to death for killing someone, the body of a woman was found in a lake - apparently raped and strangled, and two retired policemen were killed by a man as they worked for an armored car company while servicing an ATM.

What kind of impact is that having on us as we care for others? What is the psychological impact of bad news?

An article in the Harvard Business Review (October 2007) entitled "Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time" points to the importance of the emotions and quality of energy. The authors point out,

"Most people realize that they tend to perform best when they're feeling positive energy. Confronted with relentless demands and unexpected challenges, people tend to slip into negative emotions - the fight-or-flight mode - often multiple times in a day."

Listening constantly to bad news can diminish the impact of people who care for others. It enhances a low emotional state. It robs us of the kind of optimism described in the Stockdale Paradox (what Jim Collins speaks of in his book, Good to Great):

"Confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be AND at the same time, retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties."

News media is part of our existence. What are YOU doing to retain an appropriate emotional state as you care for others?

Try this: For every negative piece of news, come up with at least two positive things to keep balance. Try complimenting someone. List your blessings. Look for the good in someone. Think of a time when you accomplished something. Smile at a stranger.

I'm not talking about ignoring the woes of our fallen world. I'm talking about keeping perspective to be the best benefit to those who need us to be there for them.

By guest blogger: Scott Couchenour, Certified Life Coach
Scott A. Couchenour, Certified Life Coach
Coaching for Ministry Balance

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