Do you leap over conflict, duck under it, or belly-smack your way through?

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Anyone who has spent some time at the beach knows there are a lot of ways to deal with the waves.

On a calm day, you can just bob along, enjoying the sun and the motion of the water. But once things start to churn, you have to decide how you’re going to deal. The beach is a great analogy for our conflict styles.

  1. Run for the safety of the towel. Maybe you just don’t engage, sit it out and watch from the sidelines while everyone else struggle or surfs.
  2. Leap over the waves. The dolphin divers take the waves with a lot of grace.
  3. Duck! It’s pretty easy to just take a deep break and let the big one wash overhead. You can barely feel it as you settle into the calm beneath.
  4. Bellysmack! whether intentional or not, this one can hurt. A full frontal or side-smack? Doesn’t matter much, you take a beating and sometimes a snort of seawater to boot.

Of course, you can always choose a combination approach, tailoring your reaction to the waves, if you have time.

Regardless, after a few hours of battling it out, you’re probably ready for a break. It’s brutal business. You’ve been knocked off your feet, your knees are scraped up, and you’ve probably been caught by surprise a time or two.

Time to return to the towel, chair, pool, sofa, and reassess.

And this may be the critical part of your strategy.

As you replay the day’s decisions, do you beat yourself up for the waves that caught you by surprise? Or do you visualize the next day’s trip to the beach, with better outcomes?