Summer 2017 I read this article by Michael Hyatt entitled 7 Things to Ask When Bad Things Happen.
It is a terrific article, and at that time I had the thought, “man, glad everything is going well and I don’t have to use it.” The very next day, one of my managers turned in his two weeks. Welp.
This was a major blow to me. Whoops. Good thing I didn’t need that article, huh?
While I was still processing what was happening, I reflected back on those words and transitioned my thinking from, “everything was going so great, why is this happening to me?!” to “what does this enable me to do? What opportunities are in front of me that I wouldn’t otherwise have access to?” Don’t get me wrong, it was still mentally a tough time losing a great friend as an employee. Nor was it an instantaneous switch, as if someone sprinkled pixie dust everywhere. It sucked, but I decided not to wallow in it.
I never had that philosophy, that reaction to events like that before. This was a new thing. It was beautiful timing that the question was top of mind. Since then, it’s been deeply infused in my thinking. So now when the unexpected inevitably comes, I use this to consider what I’m now enabled to do. When my manager left, that allowed me to review a lot of my previous assumptions about our strategy. We made a number of good changes.
It’s not just me, either. More recently, I spoke to a friend in the midwest who left a company without the next step planned. Would that be scary? Sure. What did that enable? They accomplished many things in and around the house, many projects sitting on their computer just waiting for attention, resting, truly reconnecting with the family, and taking time to discern their next steps. I asked, they would not trade this away.
But (and that’s a very big “but”), I wouldn’t have had this attitude except for that fateful day in July 2017 with my manager to stop thinking detrimentally and, instead, opportunistically. The same is true of my college friend.
So, read through the seven questions to ask yourself what to do when things go awry — because they will.
What do you do when things go terrible? Do you sulk? Do you wave the white flag? Or do you ask, “what does this make possible?” Because when you ask that question, there’s a whole new world in front of you. What was hidden is now illuminated. What was once impossible now becomes possible.
Go, and find your opportunities.