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How to Navigate Chaos in the Workplace

Collin Stettler

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In most instances, chaos is viewed as something inherently negative. While some may seem to enjoy it because it allows them to avoid responsibility, there are many who use chaos to their benefit when it arises. In many instances, it is possible to grow both personally and professionally through chaos.

First and foremost, you have to make the decision on your own to grow from chaos. Nobody knows you more than yourself, so make a list of your best qualities. Make sure to include any leadership skills or interpersonal skills that might help you overcome the stressors in your workplace. Ultimately, you need to be the one that decides to take the disorder around you and flip it into something that you can benefit from. This is often the most difficult step. It's easy to get lost in the feelings of uncertainty, but take the time to talk yourself up - recognize your strengths and build up your confidence. I know it can be hard, but it's important to remain confident during times of chaos. Tell yourself you will get through, and you will be one step closer to success.

It's important to remember to take care of yourself, too. Chaos puts stress on both the body and mind, so take some time for yourself. Try going for a walk, practice deep breath exercises or write in a journal - whatever makes you feel calm and centered. It doesn't matter what you decide to do, just as long as it helps you feel ready to conquer the obstacles in your way. Eliminate as much stress as possible so that your mind is clear and ready to problem solve.

Navigating chaos is a lot like rock climbing - you need to be able to recognize opportunities that can help you reach your end goal relatively unscathed. These opportunities manifest themselves in different ways and often require different degrees of problem solving. For instance, if you notice that your team seems disorganized and in need of leadership, take the initiative to be a leader yourself. If you notice that the chaos is coming from disorganization, take some time to make the disorder organized again. Believe me, your work will not go unnoticed. Seeking out opportunities will not only help to establish open communication with your colleagues, but it could also help establish a normal routine again. It will also show your employers that you have what it takes to navigate the complex obstacles that get in your way.

Remember to create a series of short-term goals that will help you reach your ultimate goal. Focusing on long-term goals can sometimes be counterproductive, so break those goals down into smaller ones if possible. It can be difficult to plan things during times of chaos, so you must remain flexible as you set out to complete these short-term goals. Most importantly, don't get discouraged if something does not work. Mistakes help us learn. Just take some minutes to get yourself together and try again. It's not always easy to navigate chaos, but you will definitely grow in your search for a solution.

About the author: Collin Stettler is a social media intern at WITI and a senior at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. He studies English, professional writing, and LGBT studies.

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