Let’s do a little analysis first. There is a popular saying that seems to remove responsibility by the mere utterance: “It is what it is.” In the normal context of use, it is off-putting and sometimes repugnant. But used in a different context, it may make sense. There is also a saying we use at work: “Manage and lead the things that you are able to control.” Considering these terms, I see these challenging times in the following way: Most of us can’t do individual things to change the economy—it is what it is. Sure, we can be heard as individuals by exercising our responsibility to vote, but our day-to-day individual actions do not have much impact on the nationwide challenges we are experiencing. Nevertheless, we can manage our individual day-to-day outlook and actions which will carry us through. Why is it important in safety to see things this way? It is my opinion that we can hold our heads up, press on, do what is right, and find the positive in our teammates and family. Doing so is an individual action that makes a difference to those around us. Otherwise, we can lose sight of safety because we’re focused on things we don’t have an effect on.
As an example, the conference planning committee continued to meet even though there were all kinds of challenges. Mike Hill, the Oregon OSHA conference team, and the local members of the team stayed the course, put on a smile, and controlled the things they could. Despite the challenges of our world, the conference was an overwhelming success—because we did not let the times get in the way.
Surely, there is uncertainty in a lot of our organizations, and if we dwell on the issues we can’t control, it can get in the way of success, including safe operations. A mind focused on looming issues that are out of our control is going to be distracted. So, I say, let’s find joy and happiness at work and with our families. By doing so, we can fix our thoughts on positive things we can engage individually. Talk to your teams to let them know that they matter and that people are counting on them. Find ways to engage them in things they can improve or manage directly. Focus on leading success in the work they do and their involvement with family and friends.
If we can get our minds and thoughts to focus on what is in our control—no matter what is going on in this season—we can rise above the bad times. The bad times will have very little effect on our efforts. We can promote a good outlook in ourselves and those around us. This will keep safety happening no matter what. It helped make the conference a success in our community!
Chris Lawrence, Chapter President