Delightfully Difficult

Thankfully, we made it through the year of January and we’re edging closer to Spring. I’m already smiling at the snowdrops we see on our walks and soon the bright yellow daffodils and the colourful crocuses will poke their heads through the soaking ground. I’m booked in for my COVID vaccination next week and feeling much more optimistic about our path out of lockdown.

Yoga is going well; I’m practicing around 45 minutes a day and loving the online classes. I might look like a sack of potatoes attempting some of the poses but its great as no one can see me!  I do laugh at myself sometimes which I guess is also good.  I always thought getting strong meant throwing heavy weights around in the gym, but yoga has taught me some valuable lessons and I feel the strongest I’ve ever felt.  I’m also noticing improvements in my flexibility and less pain in my back and neck.  I’ve really struggled with pain levels at times, especially in my neck, so anything I can do to alleviate it that doesn’t involve more medication is superb. 

As my readers know, I tend to focus on one main subject in my blog and this week its dealing with difficult people.  We deal with difficult individuals in all walks of life and it’s important to learn how to manage them.

In the workplace I strongly believe the people who are the most difficult to manage are often the most talented.  As a “leader” you need to be able to manage difficult people to be successful. It’s the same in football; I often see a football manager fail because he can’t manage the strong characters in the dressing room.  They are often the best players, but you can’t let them disrupt the rest of the team.  Some are blissfully unaware of the impact they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. Either way, they can create unnecessary complexity and worst of all stress if not managed well.

The most successful salesperson in my team was also the most difficult to manage.  I don’t know if he reads my blogs, but he’ll know who he is if he does 😊.  He was superb at sales and greatly contributed to my success.   However, the challenges were many – fights in the office, other people’s ties being cut off in the pub and I didn’t have a clue where he was most of the time!  The expense account was also an interesting read when it landed on my desk for sign off.

That said, you do need to be careful as “challenging personalities” are different to the complainers and negaholics who are definitely bad news. These are the ones that you need to eek out before they take up too much of your time and sap your energy.

In recent years I’ve taken on consultancy assignments to review a company’s sales process to recommend improvements.  I always start a new project meeting the senior management team to discuss their main issues and challenges.  The most common issue raised is how to manage underperforming individuals.   In my experience, that’s the easy bit.  It’s not difficult to provide underperforming individuals with the coaching they need to bridge those gaps and if they don’t improve, they’re moved on.   

The toughest people to manage are those with the greatest talents and these are the people that business leaders often don’t get the best out of.  Like my sales guy, talented individuals play critical roles in a company’s growth or a football team’s success and both can miss out if they don’t have the right leadership in place to manage them. 

In everyday life we also need to know how to deal with difficult or challenging people as there are a lot around 😊. When faced with such people, having a clear understanding of how you react and what tools you can employ to attempt to keep things productive can make such a difference. I’ve found distraction technique works well, I’ve mastered the art of changing the subject if someone is being difficult, aggressive, or trying to intimidate me, it works a treat, even on social media!

Finally, I want to talk about mental health.  Dr Alex George has recently been appointed as youth mental health ambassador which I think is brilliant.  I’m so pleased mental health awareness is starting to get the attention it deserves.  I grew up very aware of the affect mental health can have and until recently it was a “taboo” subject.  There are many studies suggesting that mental health is significantly affected in those people with AS, including an increased risk of depression and anxiety.  When you tolerate pain daily it does take its toll which is why I write my story sharing my tips on keeping fit and healthy.  Without getting too technical, during an AS flare, signals to and from pain receptors interfere with normal brain function meaning these pain signals literally “fog” up your brain like television static. 

There’s also belief that when in pain, sleep is not restorative, and I can certainly vouch for that; my Fitbit is the proof as my sleep can be terrible when I’m in pain.  The brain and body are supposed to repair themselves during sleep and put memories into long term storage overnight. When in pain, rest is not rejuvenating and events in short term memory are lost.  Perhaps that’s why I find things I’ve lost in the strangest of places (quite often the fridge or the bin 😊).

On a brighter note, I do wonder how easy its going to be integrate ourselves back into society once we’re out and about again.  I’m pretty sure we can all agree that if anyone had asked us in 2015/2016 the boring old interview question “where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time”, we’d all have been wrong! 

Until next time xxxxxx

2 thoughts on “Delightfully Difficult

  1. Wow, amazing yoga pose. I could never do that.
    You are always so positive.
    Hope you feel ok after the vaccine.
    Love Cathy. X


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