I believe with all my heart and soul, conflict is a solution, not a problem. I have loved the statement it is what it is for years now. I have a sign with the words prominently displayed in our office, and every day I look for and find opportunities to help someone arrive at, “It is what it is.” These moments, precious and profound, occur quite naturally following protest, pressure, and consternation. These moments bring a feeling of relief following rationalization, explanation, and blame. It is what it is can feel like the impact of a brick wall after a racing car has impacted it or the end of a bungee jump after it has reached its limit. These moments free you. They allow you to pause. They allow you to consider options. These are aha learning moments, not due to more knowledge, but because of awareness.
I found a small jewelry stand at Orlando International Airport this past Monday and low and behold, I saw an It is What It is bracelet. Of course, I bought it, and got the website to buy more for every smart girl I know (hit me up if you want one). The bracelet made by Wind & Fire found the spirit of these simple words:
IT IS WHAT IT IS
Acceptance ~ Fortitude ~ Persistence
“It is what it is” conveys a sense of acceptance in an uncontrollable situation. The phrase reminds you to move on when things may not have gone the way you expected . . . keep moving forward in times of adversity.
I have found we seldom move forward when we are 1) shocked this is happening to us 2) in a state of disbelief we could be seeing/hearing/perceiving this 3) angry it is happening 4) depressed it is happening 5) in denial it is happening. In fact, the five stages of grief describe very well what I have seen as the process we go through when our life, relationships, career and current circumstances do not look like we thought they would look at this point in time. The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Acceptance, it is what it is, is the part of conflict that is uncontrollable, unchangeable, impervious, and immovable. Once you come to this part of conflict and accept, you can get out of your head, take a step back, look at what is happening, get inquisitive, become creative, and realize where you do have power and choices. It is not what happens to you, it is how you respond that makes all the difference.
Once you accept what is, you can move forward to what can be. This brings reality therapy to the workplace -The Winning Way™