Life is like a box of chocolates

Nov 2017

… you never know what you’re gonna get. Was a key line in Forest Gump all those years ago, but its been so true of my life as of late.

Life has been full of many twists and turns some of them good and some of them have completely stopped me in my tracks and more recently one that has completely de-railed me. These are the hardest challenges to overcome.

These tend to be things or situations that you're emotional invested in, the ones that you get caught up with and certainly get excited about.

It's the things that drive you and spur you on but when the de-railing starts to happen you can only watch from afar in slow motion. You watch the very thing you wanted slip through your fingers and no matter how hard you hold on, its gone. Out of reach and all you’re doing in grasping at thin air.

In my case this week, it was about our new super plush office, having been in the planning since early December last year, was now gone. The news arrived via email “we have a problem” to be confirmed later that morning, the “we have a problem” quickly turned to “you have a problem”

The landlord had decided to go with another organisation that was going to pay him more money. “What about the contract, the furniture we’ve ordered, what about our current office, we have to move out in 6 weeks time” was the cry…..”

“It's the landlords decision…” was the reply I got. "There really is no other way to deliver this bad news"

So my dream of our very own training centre, our mark in the business community and the emotional investment was swiftly taken from my grasp and I couldn’t do a single thing to stop it.

I had been blindsided and it literally knocked me for six. The lack of decency, the lack of integrity and overall lack of professionalism had completely de-railed me. The office made of bricks and mortar I could deal with, but the emotional side had triggered something within me. I felt helpless and so unprepared. So I sat and wallowed and wailed for quite some time.

Whilst wallowing in my situation and wailing some more, I realised that it was my emotions that were like the box of chocolates, I didn't know what I was going to get and that was the tricky part.

It's the emotion that takes us by surprise, the emotional aspects of the obstacle in our way, is the very thing that de-rails us and stops us in our tracks.

So after a few deep breaths to try and compose my wails, I put my coaching hat on and realised that the learning in any situation like this, is not to focus on what happened, but it's to understand how to overcome disappointment, manage fear, frustration and our emotions, so we can get back on track.

I really needed to get back on track. I could have continued to wallow and wail, I could have ranted and raved about the landlord and the agency. I could have felt sorry for myself even more and pulled out my old story, the narrative I keep telling myself "this always happens to me". I could have felt sorry for myself, even more than I did and slip right into victim mode.

I could say I didn't do any of those things but in all honesty I did all of them. I did wallow and wail some more. I ranted and raved a little too, with the added expletive thrown in for good measure and I did momentarily fall into my own negative narrative “this always happens to meeeeee”

I was caught in my own emotional drama… ARGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH

So as I headed to bed that night, I finally got a grip of myself and remembered Jack Canfield's equation:

Event + Response = Outcome

Events will always happen, they will stop you in your tracks and they will often de-rail you, but it’s how we respond to the event, will determine the outcome. If we allow our obstacles to keep us off track then we will never achieve anything. If we blame the event for the lack of outcome, we will remain in full-on victim mode. We will remain in that space, caught in the dance of our own emotional drama.

So like me (but try and do it sooner), choose to respond instead of reacting and although you may not get the exact outcome you want, you will get something far better than remaining in your own emotional drama.

Remember if you’re ever stopped in your tracks and surprised by the emotions you're feeling, check in with yourself, make sure you notice if you are reacting or if indeed, you are responding to the event.

So, if life is like a box of chocolates, they usually come with a description of what you will get. So don’t forget to take a moment and choose wisely. Otherwise you may end up stuck with the coffee cream and no one wants to keep getting stuck with that.