Monday, June 05, 2000

The Success Coach

Don't waste energy on anger; focus on happiness

By Michael A. Crom
Gannett News Service

        Question: I've worked as a professional in marketing for more than 25 years and have just had the most horrible experience: I made my boss look bad in front of top management when he was new to his position.

        I truly didn't intend to have the situation blow up, but he made a really bad decision that would have cost the company thousands of dollars — and he wouldn't listen to me. I thought I was discreet and cautious about going over his head, but it backfired.

        Now he's decided to destroy my reputation. He's told everyone I work with that I'm incompetent. He's even bad-mouthed me to people in our trade associations. No one wants to work with me because they don't want to make him angry, so I'm frozen out of meetings. He's just given me a horrible performance review, the first one in my entire work history.

        I've decided I have to quit and find a job in another field, but what I really want to do is get him fired. I am so angry. — Alice.

Answer: It sounds as if you have a right to be angry. On the other hand, as you know, anger doesn't do you or the world any good.

        Instead of wasting your energy on your anger, try focusing yourself in a completely opposite direction. Cultivate a mental attitude that will bring you peace and happiness with the following strategies:

        • Fill your mind with thoughts of peace, courage, health and hope. You are calm, you can get through this, and it might possibly be a crucial moment in your life that steers you to new arenas. If you continue to hold your head high and present a public face of peacefulness, your friends and co-workers will respect you, and very likely they eventually will realize that your boss's criticism is inappropriate.

        • Never try to get even with your enemies.

        I think we all have someone we'd like to get even with in our lives, but it just isn't worth it. Think of the time, energy and creativity you'd have to put in to get him fired. And then it's likely to be less than satisfying as you realize you've done exactly what you despised him for doing.

        • Try to profit from your losses.

        This may be a defining moment in your life. You obviously have skills that could benefit others. Have you thought of moving into nonprofit work? Do you want to go into business for yourself? One friend of mine, a lawyer who found himself in a similar situation, started an employment mediation firm when he realized there were no resources in his business community to help resolve situations such as this. He ended up mediating a situation between his former boss and another unhappy employee.

        • Create happiness for others.

        There are so many opportunities to do good in the world. Instead of focusing on your anger, take some time to work at a local homeless shelter or adult day-care center. When one friend of mine found herself out of work and emotionally drained, she decided to cheer herself up by writing letters to all her relatives and friends, mentioning something she really appreciated about them. Some told her it was the best gift they'd ever received.

        If you have a question or need advice, please e-mail us at, or write us at Dale Carnegie Training, 780 Third Ave., New York, NY 10017.


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