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The Holiday Season – Does it Really Bring Out the Best in Us?

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By Veronica Barber

I spent the last two weekends working as a parent volunteer for my daughter’s ballet school, assisting the ballet company and dance school to put on several Nutcracker performances. While this should have been a wonderful time for all, the days were fraught with angry parents, little girl tears, and an exhausted few who did most of the work. Like many events, when group dynamics are bad, people are unhappy. When issues exist, it’s hard to put aside feelings of anger and frustration, and replace them with a celebratory mood.

Thinking about all the things that could have made the Nutcracker experience more pleasant for everyone, I’ve come up with my top five Tips for Making the Best of Every Situation.

5 Tips for Making the Best of Every Situation

  1. We Get What We Reflect – If we are nasty to others, they will most likely be nasty back. I always find it amusing when someone complains that others have treated them disrespectfully. Respect goes both ways – when you are respectful to others, they in turn are almost always respectful back to you.    

  2. Stay Focused on the Common Purpose – In any group situation there are differing perspectives and personalities, which can cause tension when trying to make decisions and gain support for initiatives. When frustrations are high, it becomes easy to forget the reason everyone has come together.   

    In the case of the Nutcracker, our common purpose was to ensure a wonderful experience for all the dancers and audience members. By focusing on the bigger picture, it allows us to let go of the small frustrations, and to stay unified as a team.

  3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate – Ballet is to dance, as communication is to success. Often, we think we’ve communicated enough. However, if we stop to consider how to ensure everyone gets the message in a timely manner, and that everyone interprets the message similarly, we will deploy multiple methods of communication (one-to-one, group discussions, postings, Intranet, emails, text messages, etc.), and establish a system to verify that each message was received and clearly understood by all.  

  4. We Must All Respond to Bullies – Confrontation and conflict is never easy, however, as adults we must all respond when we witness wrongful acts. It is our responsibility to stand-up for those individuals who are being victimized. We cannot be the silent observers, but instead should approach situations in a nonjudgmental and respectful way – to help bring out the best in people and understand their situations – but never to ignore bad behavior.

  5. The Power of Kindness and Giving – Tis the season for generosity. When we give of ourselves, and help others, in a loving way, we ignite the spirit of giving in others. The synergy is simply so beautiful and powerful. When we choose to be kind, and positive, even during difficult situations, we make a difference. AND as a byproduct, we almost always can reach that celebratory state of mind!

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