A: They’re not facing up to the hard work
needed to solve problems. As I help people with businesses and careers, I hear,
“Tory, nothing is working,” “Nobody is getting back to me,” and “What if [blank]
doesn’t happen?” My response: Sometimes you have to suck it up, and here are
three great ways to do that.
• Embrace your problem. My ABC News colleague Robin Roberts, anchor of
Good Morning America, survived breast cancer only to have to undergo a
painful bone marrow transplant. She could have retreated to a dark place.
Instead Roberts confronted her situation and turned “her mess into her message,”
persuading fans to sign up for a national bone marrow registry.
Our day-to-day frustrations can be vexing even though we don’t
face a challenge as dramatic as hers. The way Roberts handled her
illness—staying focused, sharing her experiences and consciously
choosing to see light through a cloud of adversity—should inspire anyone.
You can let your audience in on what you’re going through as long as you
use that vulnerability for a positive, helpful outcome serving a greater
purpose—not for drumming up personal sympathy.
• Let it go. Yes, that’s the opposite of what I
praised Roberts for doing. This strategy comes from another ABC News colleague,
Dan Harris, author of 10% Happier. In his book, this master
worrier talks about strategies he learned to tame his self-doubt. I found this
one particularly valuable because I battle self-doubt, too. The antidote: Step
back briefly and ask, Is this useful?
“It’s OK to worry, plot and plan,” Harris writes, “but only
until it’s not useful anymore. I’ve spent my life trying to balance my penchant
for maniacal overthinking with the desire for peace of mind. Here, with one
little phrase, is a hugely constructive tool for taming this impulse.” Amen to
• Turn the mirror on yourself. When things
aren’t going as planned, figure out where you’re accountable. Whether you’re
trying to launch a product or close a corporate sale, the process is the
same—you must reach the right person with the right message at the right
Yet too frequently efforts play out this way: You repeatedly
contact the same five people who’ve expressed lukewarm interest. You call, text,
email, send smoke signals and get nowhere. The obvious conclusion that most
people falsely make—is that nobody is interested, that this just
doesn’t work. In other words, you sink into whining. It’s easy to blame
others and be angry at their refusal to do what you want, but it’s not
constructive and won’t generate business.
Ask yourself what you must change. Have you positioned your
message effectively and stressed the benefits to the client clearly and
confidently? Is the timing right? Should you reach out to five new
people instead of the same old contacts?
Focus on things you can control, not those beyond your
reach. It’s up to you to develop a Plan B when Plan A fails.
Here’s how I use the mirror: Instead of blaming a problem on someone else, I
figure out how to fix it myself. This approach can be difficult, but it’s way
more productive than hoping others will miraculously save you.
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