It Is What It Is

“Tolerance, compromise, understanding, acceptance, patience – I want those all to be very sharp tools in my shed.”

GeeLo Green

There are moments each day where we are all faced with situations that we wish we didn’t have to face. As a business owner, you are faced with business decisions based on something or some things that didn’t go according to plan such as irate customers, mistakes by employees, errors by suppliers, or constant interruptions.

Welcome to life. You are not unique in that you run smack dab into these situations. We all do at times and our response to these circumstances tells a lot about us and our character. Think about a time when you were working for someone and you made a mistake and you were worried about the response because of that mistake. We all remember the response, and whether the response was good or bad, it influenced us in some way.

We all remember our good bosses and our bad bosses. Bad bosses reacted to life’s situations by yelling, blaming, pointing fingers, and shutting down. They very seldom took responsibility for the situation or their response to it. Good bosses responded differently. They looked at the situation and logically tried to resolve the problem. Any blame or finger pointing was done after the fact and even then it was in order to learn from the mistake and not to berate someone.

The good bosses are the ones who believe that when circumstances arise and situations change and life throws a curve ball at them that well, it is what it is. Complaining about the situation will not change the situation. Blaming someone for the situation will not change the situation. Yelling and pointing fingers at someone will not change the situation. It is what it is so let’s figure out a way to resolve the problems and get on with our lives.

Everyone and anyone can logically respond this way when situations arise that are out of our control, but in many cases, we choose to act differently. It is, after all, our choice. We can react, or we can respond. We can let our emotions take over and react, which can make the situation worse by causing a delay in actually trying to resolve the situation. When we respond, we think more logically about what’s important given the situation. For example, there’s a fire in the waste paper basket. We may react by yelling fire and running from the building, or we could respond by logically thinking that picking up a fire extinguisher and attempting to put out the fire might be a better course of action.

Now granted, there are times in emergency situations when we react because the situation is life threatening, but in a work situation, the vast majority of decision moments are not life threatening or even business life threatening for the owner, CEO, or senior manager.

Our business life is full of it is what it is moments and we are in control of how we react or respond to these moments. We can’t control how others react, but we can control how we react or respond. We react by instinct, we respond by choice. When we become more aware of our initial reactions, we can learn to control them and respond more appropriately given the situation. Even though our brain may initially react to a situation as if it is life threatening and scary, the reality of it is that the vast majority of business situations are not life threatening or even that scary.

We can all learn to respond in a more positive way by first learning not to overreact as our initial reaction.
Second, define the problem. What are the causes? What harm is it doing? What are the ramifications of the problem?
Third, generate potential solutions. Identify all the ways the problem can be resolved? Brainstorm with your team and leave nothing off the table. The most out-of-the-box idea may be the resolution.
Fourth, identify the criteria that would have to be met by the most logical solutions. Will the solution resolve the root cause or put a Band-Aid on the problem? If it’s a Band-Aid, is that good enough for now?
Fifth, select the most logical solution. Which one or ones meets the criteria? Which one or ones can be implemented relatively easily?
Sixth, plan to implement the solution and implement it, being aware that once the solution is implemented it will need to be assessed to ensure that it is actually resolving the problem and may need to be improved somewhere down the road.

This is a positive response to an it is what it is problem.

However, first you have to become an it is what it is business owner, boss, manager, and/or supervisor. It is what it is accepts the situation for what it is. It’s here. It’s happened, now let’s deal with it. It is what it is doesn’t blame, point fingers, or yell. It is what it is resolves the problem or situation and then uses it as a learning moment to try to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

It’s your choice. You can react to business problems and issues or you can respond to problems and issues by realizing that whatever the problem, it is what it is, and respond accordingly.

Ron Feher
“Making your business better by making your people better,” captures Ron’s commitment to helping people. He possesses a breadth and depth of experience in a variety of disciplines including job benchmarking, staff development, manager mentoring, executive coaching, employee and management training. Ron has over 30 years of experience working in large, mid-size, and small companies in both technical and management roles with responsibilities covering management and technical training, strategic planning, tactical implementation, P&L, budgeting, vendor and relationship management, user design and testing, PMO, and process/project management of corporate-wide. He has worked for large, midsize, and small companies in a myriad of industries including telecommunications (AT&T), computer manufacturing (Gateway), mergers and acquisitions (RSM EquiCo), real estate, IT outsourcing and publishing (Spidell Publishing). He possesses an MBA in Technology Management, certifications in project management, international management and eMarketing. He is a Value Added Advisor with TTI Success Insights™, a certified Behavior and Motivation Analyst and certified Career Direct® consultant. Ron is currently serving as Irvine Chamber of Commerce Leads Group Chair, FUSION Leaders Chair and Board Member along with being actively involved with several task forces and committees. As an outreach to the community, Ron offers a Career Transition Workshop to churches and non-profits and was a founding member of the Career Coaching & Counseling Ministry at Saddleback Church. Ron’s favorite quote is “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll still get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers


  1. There are people so hard-wired to “blame” someone else and not take responsibility. When I do coaching, I bring up objective, subjective, and emotional driven behaviors. Objective is when you’re impartial stating all the facts. Subjective is when you have skin in the game and speaking from life experiences. Emotional is when people are put in a state of fight, flight, or freeze. From there I talk about consequences both the good and bad for each set of behaviors. I do my best to emphasize that each behavior has its right time and place. We just need to give ourselves some time to stop and think.

    • Chris,

      Thank you for the insightful comments. I use assessments in all my coaching engagements so that I can gather some objective data about the people I’m coaching. Identifying how they solve problems, interact with people, what motivates them and how developed their soft skills are helps me to help them develop and it takes out a lot of the built in bias we all have when coaching/managing people. Appreciate the comments.

  2. Good points, Ron. I spent my working life in the hotel industry and that is a venue where the adage of “everything that can go wrong will” is the rule of every day. One that can’t deal with that in a calm and considered fashion won’t do well.



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