Call centers, with their constant customer communication and emphasis on booking calls, can sometimes be stressful places. Do any of these questions from call center employees sound familiar to you?

“What if the tech I’m dispatching gets mad at me for giving him another call?”

“What if I don’t book the call?”

“What if a customer yells at me?”

Questions like these worry your call center employees. They don’t want to fail in front of their supervisor, feel badly during work, or say the wrong thing and hurt the company.

These are also useless questions. How much time do you, your employees, and your coworkers spend on the “what ifs” in your business? How much wasted emotional energy do people spend every day wondering if something will happen, and what to do about it?

We’ve all been there. We’ve all had questions that weigh on our minds, keeping us from operating at our maximum ability. “What ifs” can occupy our thoughts and cause us stress and anxiety.

Notice that all the call center “what if” questions are negative — that’s the mind trying to prepare itself for a distressing situation. What if you helped your employees handle their worrying questions differently? Why not help them spin the negative scenarios into positives, and look at their “what ifs” in a new light? For example:

  • Instead of: “What if the tech I’m dispatching gets mad at me for giving him another call?” Why not: “What if the tech recognizes that I’m giving him this call for a reason? What if he realizes that it’s a compliment?”
  • Instead of: “What if I don’t book the call?” Why not: “What if I don’t book the call, but our inside sales rep books it, and teaches me a new technique in the process?”
  • Instead of: “What if a customer yells at me?” Why not: “What if the customer yells at me, and my patience and empathy causes them to calm down?”
  • Instead of: “What if I fail?” Why not: “What if I fail, and learn something invaluable in the process?”

Some of you may think this is all just looking at challenging situations with rose-colored glasses. And sure — maybe it is. But what if you had the same glasses I did, and could see things optimistically, rather than in a negative light? What if you learned to recognize the value in making mistakes, or challenging times, instead of letting them weigh on you? What if changing your perspective could change your whole life?

I know a woman who was fired from her high-paying job. That job provided a healthy living for her family and a lifestyle that many of her friends envied. After being terminated, she told me that she went home, cried, and got down to discovering who she really was. She told me how many times she’d questioned herself during her 12 years in that position, and how often she’d asked herself “what if” questions that dealt with negative outcomes. All those negative “what ifs” ultimately led to paralysis by analysis. They kept her in that job much longer than she had ever wanted.

She came to terms with her new reality, and rather than asking “What if I would’ve done something differently? Would I still have my job?”, she began asking herself, “What if I find something I truly love doing?” For the first time, she focused on asking the right “what if” questions, and eventually discovered an entirely new career that’s more fulfilling than she ever could’ve imagined. Her new job pays two-thirds as much as her old one, but provides ten times the enjoyment and satisfaction, with much less stress. Her negative “what ifs” stopped dictating where she went in life. Instead, she used healthy “what ifs” to guide her down a path to fulfillment.

When I consider the anxiety and stress that comes with my own “what if” questions, I’m reminded of this quote:

“Can you do anything about your worry? If yes, then go do something about it. If no, then why are you worrying about it?”

When it comes time to consider the “what ifs” that are steering your life, your business, and your employees, consider spinning the negatives into positives. Your employees will relax, your business will do better, and your life will be one filled with learning.

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