Do you remember the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Although some of the finer points have been lost to me over the years, I remember that Ferris faked sick so he could stay out of school. Once his parents were sufficiently convinced of his feverish illness—all carefully executed—and his parents on their way to work, he went on one monumental adventure spree of epic proportions. And everything seemed to fall in his favor (except the high school principal!) For the first time I wondered, What would it look like if everything in my life went right?
Have you ever had an amazing day where everything went right for you? You snagged the cherry parking spot right by the door, someone prepared your favorite meal for dinner, you were the first in line at the best shoe sale ever (because the ones you picked matched many of your outfits!). Or you aced the interview; got the promotion; the person you were interested in asked you out! Those days are usually pretty memorable. How did you feel?
When you have a day like that, don’t you want it to last forever? We want to squeeze every drop of enjoyment from it because those days are so precious. Let’s be honest, if we could get it, we’d want a lot more of those days, wouldn’t we?
But what do you do when the opposite happens and there’s a landslide of things that go wrong? The car breaks down, the bank account looks thin, the people at work get ugly or a client you had an appointment with has to cancel?
How we deal with those moments can make us or break us. Can you keep a positive attitude in spite of those events? Do you see an opportunity for God to move and bring a blessing—like a job opportunity or a bonus? Do you trust The One who gave you breath to show up in those moments? What does that even look like?
When the car breaks down, do you say it’s cursed and meant to undermine your finances?
If your checking account starts to shrink below a certain level do you become less generous? Do you believe more is coming or that you have to hold on to what you have?
In your work environment, when your co-workers become surly and salty, do you think it’s high time some of them left? Or, do you see that the Maker of the Universe is directing you to break out of your environment?
What does this mean for you?
As a person of faith, I now see adverse circumstances and perceived setbacks as trials and growth opportunities. Sure, I could be upset, whine and complain, even let myself be miserable. (And sometimes I go there for a bit.)
Obviously we love easy, breezy days where everything goes our way and we feel happy. It’s like hitting every light green. But the reality is that we have to endure tough days. They come to all of us, so why don’t we plan for them? Have you scripted how you’ll handle those days when the stars scatter and the planets fail to align?
Someone recently said, “What if the things that we thought of as negatives were truly for our benefit? Instead of things happening TO us they are happening FOR us?” If you fully believed that thought, how would it change your perspective?
This concept helped me learn how to reframe “negative” situations. In the early days of my business I didn’t know many people. Instead of sitting by and hoping to be discovered, I scrolled through my network and looked up interesting people that I wanted to meet, get to know or work with and sent connection invitations. Although not all people responded, many of them did and have worked on various projects with a number of them.
When one of Dana’s clients took a 90-day hiatus due to family issues, Dana took it as a sign to enroll in a class on best industry practices for her growing business. She graduated with more expertise that helped her develop an additional income stream.
When the entire exhaust system on Karla’s car had to be replaced, she didn’t complain about the rather high expense. Instead, she was grateful that she’d been near the mechanic’s garage instead of scraping and sparking down the freeway. (Plus, she kept her mechanic employed and he was glad for the work!)
Several of Darnell accounts owed him money. While waiting for it to come in, his account dipped lower than he liked. Instead of panicking and turning miserly, he chose to treat a friend to lunch and contributed significantly to one of his favorite charities. Before the money owed him came in, he landed a new client the very next week. The pay from the new client not only topped up his account, but exceeded what he’d had in it before.
These scenarios may seem incredible, but they’re absolutely true. What positive forward steps can you take that will cause you to think in a positive direction? Instead of letting the situation get the best of you, can you re-frame it and find the benefit?
It may take some effort and certainly the first few times you do it, it may feel ridiculous. But notice how you feel when it works. Once you get used to it, you’ll start seeing challenges as opportunities to be great. Quite possibly, you’ll begin having more of those everything-going-right days that we all love.