Life hits you when you least expect it

A recent Saturday morning was going as usual. As always, the first thing on Saturday’s agenda was grocery shopping with my husband, Dave, and our daughter, Vicki.

All was going according to schedule until we were on the way to Vicki’s home to drop her off. Stopped at a stoplight, on a divided road, in a right-turn lane, and preparing to make the right turn, a fire engine with lights flashing and siren blaring came out of the cross street and turned into the direction we had been coming from. Apparently spooked by this, a young driver directed his car right into the driver’s side of our car, and then the adventure began.

This was not the way we expected the morning to go, nor were we prepared for the impact it would have going forward.

Everyone in business has been vulnerable at some time, whether from business or personal situations. No matter what the challenge, we get up, get dressed, and get going — we never quit.

I read somewhere that successful people know how to snap back from adversity. They develop qualities that help them to triumph over challenges.

Resilience plays a big role in pushing beyond what we’re normally capable of. But there are many other strategies for overcoming life’s challenges, including:

  • Moving as quickly as possible through the period of feeling sorry for yourself. Get rid of the disappointment that you can’t control the situation.
  • Getting a recovery plan in place. Commit to being aggressive in overcoming the hardship.
  • Looking for any opportunity that comes with the situation. Reach out and ask for help.
  • Simplifying your life. We all have choices — some that become very clear when you can’t do it all anymore — and we have to learn to keep actual needs versus wants in perspective.
  • Paying someone else to do it. We don’t have to do it all ourselves.
  • Learning to say “No!”
  • Communicating. State your expectations clearly.
  • Learning better “self-talk.” Instead of asking, why did this happen to me (or the company), ask, how can I fix this? Or ask, what kinds of things can I do to improve the situation, and, what can I learn from this?
  • Even when things happen when you least expect them, you must take responsibility. Jim Rohn (1930–2009), American entrepreneur, author, and speaker, shared the message that we alone are responsible for the quality of life we live. If we want to be successful, we have to take 100% responsibility for our health, physical fitness, income, debts — everything.
  • Stop complaining. Ask for what you need and then take action to get it.

You never know what kinds of surprises await you in life. The challenges can be big or small and may not even seriously jeopardize the future. We can’t act like Chicken Little and keep waiting for the sky to fall.

Business coaches tell us that we always have a choice. We may not be able to control what happens but we can control the way we react. An old English proverb tells us to, “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” Charles R. Swindoll, evangelical Christian pastor, author, and educator, said, “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”

I spent some time whining about my recent accident and then I realized that it really didn’t help. I decided that I could accept what happened, make the choice to deal with being in a wheelchair for the time being (hopefully a short time), and think of cool replies to, “What happened to you?”

So far, I’ve told folks that I fell off my Harley, and that I took a fall while ice dancing. I had no control over what happened and I certainly didn’t expect it; however, I can control how I deal with it. Might as well do it with a sense of humor!

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