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Knowing when to pick your battles

In a series of wellbeing columns Karen Beaven offers advice to others in HR

When you’re getting ready for work in the morning does it sometimes feel like you’re getting ready for battle? Sometimes it can even feel like you’re fighting more than one battle at once. We say things like: ‘It’s ok, I like a good challenge’. But do we really?

Being in a permanent state of battle is exhausting. You need to be bringing energy towards you if you want to improve your self-care. So if it feels like you’re fighting multiple battles you’ll have multiple sources of energy drain taking you further away from a point of being happy, healthy and stress-free.

For that reason not all battles are worth fighting. But you know this, and maybe just need a reminder that you have a choice here. Maybe you feel like you need someone to give you permission to stop fighting. If so I’m giving you that permission right now. It’s OK to stop and sometimes it actually takes more strength and a bigger person to do that.

But am I suggesting you quit fighting altogether? Hell no. What we’re talking about is choosing the battles worth fighting so you’re in a position to be strong enough to win them. It’s about being strong enough to walk away from the battles that will only ever drain your energy with no positive outcome.

So here’s what we’re going to do. This is something that I call my ‘is it worth the fight?’ test.

Firstly, I want you to consciously list all of the battles it feels like you’re having at the moment. Then we’re going to put them through the ‘is it worth the fight?’ test and if they pass you stick with them. If they don’t you need to find a way to let them go, or back down on them at least for the moment.

Remember the point of this is helping you to channel your energy into the right places and remove scenarios that drain you and chip away at your confidence and strength.

So here’s the test. For each battle ask yourself the following:

Are you really prepared to back yourself in this scenario? By that I mean if you get a knockback would you push back just as strongly? Would you put your job on the line for it?

If you had a team of people working for you, and one of them came to you and said that this was their battle, would you be prepared to back them in this scenario?

Do you have allies you can call on that will support you?

Can you be patient enough to choose your moment for action?

Does this battle have a neutral or positive impact on your health?

Do you believe you can win?

If you can answer yes to all of the above you should stick with the battle. If you can’t, think through what’s motivating you to stick with it.

After you’ve put each battle to the test, rank the ones that passed in priority order and pick the top one first.

Identify the allies you need to win the battle and strengthen your allies and your argument. Back yourself with facts and data where you need to. Believe in yourself and with support from your allies pick the optimal moment to take action. Where you can just pick one battle at a time so you can focus your energy and strength. You need to be smart, tactical and strategic here.

I also want to flag that if you have any battles on your list that you know are having a detrimental impact on your health and that you know are affecting your self-care, you need to find a way to make peace with them and let them go. It may be that you come back to them in a different way further down the line. But only if you can put them through the test and they pass the criteria.

Here’s to moving closer to a happy, healthy and stress-free life.

Karen Beaven is founder of the HR Entrepreneurs Network and an IVF and fertility coach. Visit www.karenbeaven.com and www.ivfcoach.co.uk

This piece appeared in the June 2019 issue. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk