No-One Is Shooting At Us–By Sandra Piccolo

Eight Tips to a Better Perspective

I had a brief, yet substantial conversation with my cousin’s spouse, Dawn. Both Dawn and Mike retired from the military after a 30-year career as high-ranking officials in intelligence. Mike now works as a Program Manager for a government agency, and because of his experience in the military, he looks at things with a different perspective. This article is a result of my conversation with Dawn.

“How is everything going with work?” Dawn asked.

“Pretty good,” I said. “There are some frustrating points, but, I love my family, and that is my focus, especially when things get crazy Monday-Friday.”

“Good for you. That’s a great attitude. Something that Mike always says to everyone when things get rough at work is: “No one is shooting at us.”

We were interrupted by farewells and hugs, yet I was taken by that phrase, and wanted to pass it on to teach others about the importance of perspective. The tips below can be used, as a guide, to help anyone through change, challenge and even times of crazy.

1.) Connect with other people, who are trustworthy, and want to see positive outcomes.
2.) Talk with each other. Don’t assume. A face-to-face conversation will clarify misunderstandings and open a door for other ideas.
3.) Understand the why. If it hasn’t been explained – ask for it. Accept it or move on.
4.) Listen objectively. Ask open-ended questions, if you don’t understand another person’s viewpoint.
5.) Anticipate problems and track results. This will allow for a different, possibly smoother transition for the next challenge.
6.) Uncover something positive and use it to help you navigate the trenches to develop a healthy attitude toward change and challenge.
7.) Debrief and write down what you’ve learned from the situation.
8.) Change your habits and apply the new ones to other projects and situations.

Over the years, I have used these tips when faced with meeting unrealistic expectations; while also navigating conversations from people who chose power and pageantry to test my knowledge, patience and at times, self-confidence.

It’s because of these experiences and my qualities of passion, honesty and dedication that make me a better listener, stronger leader and someone who has more patience and self-awareness. Some people aren’t as fortunate. I’m aware that things are worse for many people around the world and in my community, particularly those people who haven’t had the chance to learn or even understand how to adopt a phrase like – no one is shooting at us. So, I will choose to learn from change and times of crazy. Now, that’s perspective.

Although the conversation with my cousin was quick, it validated that I am responsible for my behavior. The way I approach a situation, carry myself and navigate the challenging parts and people is ultimately my choice. I will grow from the experience, learn from other people’s behavior, and probably write a story to teach others. Most importantly, I’ll always try to remember that unless I’m in the trenches, fighting to save lives, no one is shooting at me.

Sandra Piccolo is a learning and development professional who lives and works in Rochester, NY. She has developed and delivered education programs for diverse audiences across the bell curve, and is a recognized leader in the training and development community. For more information, visit her website at: