Sometimes, when something doesn’t turn out the way we want, it turns out to be a good thing… This happened to me early on in my consulting career, when I started working from my office in my home:
One day my router stopped working and my internet went out. I was in the middle of a large work project when the connection went dead. I panicked as I tried to reboot it, and worried about the lost work, the deadlines I’d miss, and all the emails piling up. When it didn’t come back on, my thoughts shifted to the inconvenience and time it would take to fix it. First, I had to find an I.T. person and hope they had the bandwidth to help me quickly, then I had to search for a replacement router, buy it, and go through the hassle of getting it set up.
I spent a frustrating afternoon at Best Buy sorting through the many routers, wasting precious time I could have spent working. When I got back to my office, I reached the I.T. guy who sometimes helps me, and after pleading with him, he agreed to come over and help me connect it that evening. I stewed until he came over and wondered why this bad thing had to happen to me today.
Turned out that the install of the router went quickly, and after the I.T. guy left, I found something I hadn’t expected: not only did I have internet again, but I had better, faster internet now throughout my whole house! Because the technology had improved so much, I had upgraded my router, and now I had speeds I never even dreamed of. Even the coverage in the downstairs living room worked without buffering. I was thrilled!
Later that night, after I had calmed down, I processed the experience—from my initial frustration and stress, my anxiousness at Best Buy, my harried calls to the I.T. guy, and then to the final result of to getting a better, faster internet connection. The result was that whole experience turned out better than I ever imagined it would. As I reviewed the experience, I came up with the saying “Is that a bad thing?” This has become my mantra when unexpected changes or circumstances come up, which they do constantly.
Meeting so-called problems or situations with this new awareness and attitude has been life transforming. Now, when something breaks, goes out, or doesn’t go the way I planned (like not getting a client I had hoped for) I immediately ask myself, “Is that a bad thing?” Then, with a smile, I begin looking for ways to improve what I had before or begin looking for better opportunities that are now available. When I do, I often find better upgrades for what I had, or better options/opportunities for the future.
When you think about your own experiences, I’m sure you’ve had instances when something didn’t go the way you thought it should, but that didn’t mean that it didn’t go the best way it could. By remaining open to what comes up and by looking for the opportunities that come with it, you will find a better way of dealing with the inevitable changes life constantly presents us with.
I’m now quick to ask, “Is that a bad thing?”
And that has turned out to be a good thing.
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