life doesn’t always go to plan,”
There is one thing I have learned in my 13 years at
Company : sometimes, life doesn’t always go to plan, no matter how many goals
you make. I think that might be the hardest thing for us to grasp at
Company – basically learning from an unexpected event. Believe it
or not, those unexpected events, became some of my best coaching moments.
I am sure you all have heard of the 7 stages of
grief? Well sometimes I believe that there are stages of learning
from an unexpected event. One has to learn from an unexpected even
in order to a) grow and b) move to your new goals. This can happen in
your personal and /or your professional life. Also note, the 7 stages of grief
do not go in order! Sometimes we get so goal orientated we want each step to
move in order – but unfortunately – grief – and learning from an unexpected
event – likes to take it’s time.
So here are just four of my personal coaching
“mantras” with dealing with unexpected events or next chapters if you will:
1. Keep your commitments – Life has to move on. Two months
before I married, my Dad died unexpectedly. I was going to postpone the
wedding(basically stop everything and lie in a fetal position) but my
very wise sister said – “You know? You have to keep to your commitments.
Life has to move on. Anyways, Dad will be there!”
So I went about keeping my commitments. Getting the wedding in gear
even though I felt like I rather just not. I was married in February and
it started to snow on my wedding day. I thought, oh great. For a Bride,
this could be a tragedy. But I said – you know what? I had two months of
keeping to wedding commitments, a little “snow” was not going to deter
me! During the wedding, when our vows were being exchanged the sunlight
suddenly burst through the windows of the church. To this day I believe
that sunshine was my Dad rewarding me. Maybe it is a coping mechanism – but you
know? That sun melted all the snow and we had a lovely day. I
learned that keeping commitments even though you’d rather not, will be rewarding, even if you
don’t see it at that time.
2. First day of change is the hardest. Every day after that, it does get
a little bit better. Flash forward to 2004/2005. I swear this was a
horrid year for me. I had the trifecta of bad stuff happen to me(hubby passed
away/I survived a nasty condition/loss of beloved pet). Yes. That year
was hell. Believe me, I didn’t want to make my commitments. The change
was so fast and furious, I did want to roll up in a ball. But I recalled
my sisters consul: keep your commitments, life has to move on.
Everything you lost will be there, but you have to go forward. I learned
something new after struggling to make my first commitment post my husband’s
death: The first day of the bad news is the hardest day. HOWEVER every day
after that gets a little bit better. And it did. Believe it or not.
3. Cake or Death. I am sure you all know who Eddie Izzard is? I know he is not the
most politically correct comedian and my reference to this skit may not
be what he meant, but this is what I gleaned from it: YOU do have choices
even in the face of an unexpected event. Sometimes we think that there is only
one answer, really there are many. Knowing that you have a choice, is sometimes
4. Making Lemons into Lemonade. Okay, so maybe the choices are
not the most ideal. You could go straight to the fetal position but you have to
move through it. This is where strategy comes in. How do you make the
lemons into something you can live with? This is where I brainstorm on a
piece of paper and put it down for a bit and then revisit it. Sometimes you may
not know how to make the lemons into lemonade so you have to let it sit.
At this time, I also reach out to mentors and people wiser than me to ask
for their opinion and feedback.
5. Ferris Bueller was right.: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop
and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” That
is so true. Life is way to short. You have to make your life fulfilled. That
means you have to force yourself to have a work life balance. I do this
by scheduling in time for my hobbies and family and focusing on them 100%. It
is like my brain has gone on a mini vacation. I am more refreshed when I
get back to work and focused on Monday. Heck. I never knew my hobby could
get me into CNN, BBC and USA Today. If I didn’t force myself to have that work
life balance? I wouldn’t have had the year that I have had.
Life changes on a daily basis. So learning
how to work through the “unexpected” or next chapters of our lives both personally
and professionally will become second
nature to you all. Please know this is not a “look at me!” type of
coaching moment, I just want to relate some advice that was provided to me to
help you all work through any changes or unexpected events that comes your way.