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WTF & SWN
We originally published this MMM two years ago and in light of the times we are all in, we thought Matt's message was worth reposting! This week we share a powerful message from Leadership & Executive Coach, Matt Gould. Matt gives us some great insight on how to not get stuck in the WTF moment and how to move forward proactively! (Please be safe out there!)
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WTF! You know what this acronym stands for and you can relate. You have experienced this thought before and you will experience it again in the future. You might even be thinking and feeling it right now based on a situation you find yourself in personally and professionally.
You are passionate, competitive, and care about your goals and dreams. You want to win and achieve success as you have defined it. You get frustrated, and rightfully so, the moment anything or anyone gets in your way. The less than ideal situation in front of you right now, no matter how hard you try to deny it, elicits the universally expressed thought, feeling, and emotion that is captured in 3 simple letters, WTF!
Feeling this is 100% natural. What happens next is also natural. Replacing WTF with "Who to fault?" This is the beginning of the slippery slope to blame and criticism . WTF for the process minded individual is more constructively applied with "Where's the fault?. For others with an inquisitive mind, WTF might evolve to "Why the fault?". "When" and "What" can also be a useful set of questions to unpack the situation, try to make sense of it, make the necessary changes, and move forward with a new set of actions.
Let's keep it real though, the majority of the time, WTF is an emotionally charged expression created with an emotional mind and expressed emotionally.
It is difficult to a make logical decisions with an emotional mind
After the adrenalin fades and our heart beat slows, a more balanced, sound, and logical mind sets in. As you come back down for the emotional high you hopefully have the awareness that trust has been broken and the relationship requires attention. You might feel the need to apologize for expressing yourself the way you did. You might also include an excuse in the apology that sounds like "I just couldn't contain myself" and "I was so fired up by the situation, I just had to react". You might even invite people to agree with you. "You would have reacted the same way, right?". If you are not strong enough and humble enough to apologize and if the adrenalin still circulates through your blood, you might continue to lay blame on someone or something outside of yourself. "The sales department's performance caused me to flip out" or "The pressure to perform is so great, it forces me to act this way".
Thinking, saying, and reacting with WTF will never solve the problem. Never. Ever.
WTF means you care. WTF is important for you to feel. WTF proves you are driven to accomplish the mission. YES it does AND it does not solve anything.
Follow up WTF with SWN
SWN: So What Now! The curve ball was thrown, the plan was derailed, something unthinkable has happened. Great leaders always make the transition from WTF to the extremely logical and even more powerful stance of So What Now!
SWN is where control lives. SWN is the place to channel all of your energy. SWN is the best space for ideas, creativity, and value added actions to be brought to life to solve the problems that are in front of you. SWN is a leadership muscle that requires discipline to activate.
SWN turns every single issue into an incredible opportunity. Every. All.
This may not be a natural place for you to live. So What Now is a place of pure curiosity. Emotional minds can be irrational and generally don't provide good long term solutions. Logical minds do. As you embody this space and occupy the SWN mindset, it may be helpful to expand on this powerful acronym.
"So Where Now?" (Where do we go from here?). "So Who Now?" (Who needs to know about this situation and who needs to be brought in to help solve it). "So When, now?" (When do you make changes or do you continue on your current path? Now is not always the appropriate answer if you know your processes are sound). "So Why Now?" (What is good about this timing and what is bad about it. More importantly, what do we need to learn from it).
One thing is for sure, you cannot change the past. Not matter how hard or how loud you express WTF, the past is the past and you cannot go back and undo it. It's done.
You also can not go physically into the future to solve problems, at least not yet.
The only place you can take action to solve problems is now, in the present.
WTF is a natural reaction to unexpected problems and issues. What is unnatural and unproductive is continuing to believe that feeling and expressing WTF will fix the situation.
The next time you find yourself in a WTF moment consider just how weak you are to stay stuck in it.
If you can't control your own emotions and reactions, you are showing others that you are powerless.
If you really want the goals and success you claim to want and if you are really as powerful as you believe you are, consider transitioning to SWN. Feel WTF for a moment but don't waste your energy here. Conserve your valuable energy and spend it on SWN. SWN is the only way to bring success closer to you than it is now.
Stopping at WTF renders you powerless. It is a reaction for the weak. Moving on to SWN reveals your true power. It is a reaction for the strong.
So what's next? So what now?
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Be blessed this week.
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