Have you noticed that, in business and in life, there’s always something to deal with? That’s just the nature of the game, so to speak, right? Call them what you will- problems, breakdowns, challenges, situations, opportunities, etc.- as long as you’re alive, and certainly if you’ve taken on working with others (and how can you not), there will always be things to deal with.
The question for today is, HOW do you deal with those things? And I don’t mean what do you do, because that (hopefully) will be different from situation to situation. Rather, how do you relate to what there is to deal with; what is your relationship to what’s happening and how do you let it affect you? I say that it’s who you are about what’s happening- or how you relate to it- not the situation itself, that has the real impact on both your effectiveness in dealing with it and your experience of life overall.
Here’s a great, real-life example:
One day, after having lunch with my (amazing) girlfriend, I notice that I’ve missed a call from a client that just last week has “re-become” a client after almost 5 months of mostly being out of communication. When I return her call (without checking the voicemail), she is clearly upset. Due to a rather sizable miscommunication/misunderstanding in our initial conversation, her credit card has been charged for something she didn’t expect to be charged for. I thought (and thought that I’d communicated and clarified) that she was returning to pay for and receive her final contracted month of service. She apparently thought that she was returning to only finish what she felt she had already paid for and was owed.
In her reaction, her idea is to dispute the charge and end all communication (and further business) immediately. I tell her I totally get being upset with the circumstances, that I’ll get in communication with who I need to on my side of things, AND request that she give herself a “moment” to move beyond the reaction- that what’s happening isn’t an attack or crime, but simply a misunderstanding (and one that I promise will simply be resolved one way or another)- and given my and our history, that we continue communication at our scheduled time/day so that everyone can be clear, taken care of and satisfied. She agrees, and thanks me for being “beyond a reaction”.
As I then drive away, a loud, pronounced and shaky grinding occurs every time I brake- this has come out of nowhere it seems, as the brakes were just replaced last year, and I’ve had no problems whatsoever up until this very moment. The grinding is loud, jarring and it is taking a much longer distance to come to a stop each time.
I choose to head home, so that I can communicate with the necessary people about the credit card issue, and then walk to do some errands instead of driving. When I arrive home, I walk in the door to the sound of running water. In my kitchen, I find a wet (like puddles) counter, floor and a stream of water coming down the wall from the ceiling.
So, I’ll skip the details of what happened and what I did to deal with the situation(s), and get to the point. As I alluded to before, no doubt we’ve all had days like this, filled with unexpected breakdowns- we’ve all had bad days, right?
Well, here’s the thing: I didn’t have a bad day. In fact, I really enjoyed my day, regardless of what happened. How is that? It wasn’t positive thinking, or avoidance, or even doing some exercise to get myself clear. I say the source of this, of my peace and freedom and ability to enjoy the day, is that I simply wasn’t threatened by what happened. Why not?
Business-wise, I work from an intention (as I’ve shared in the past two posts)- so it’s not about me, it’s about others being left with an experience of being free and alive. With that intention carrying the day, my attention isn’t on me- with all of my preferences, expectations, beliefs, views, etc.- and therefore there’s no experience of threat because there’s no “me” in the equation to be threatened.
And overall, so what if the brakes go or there’s water in my kitchen? And even if I were to lose the client (which is not likely), how significant is that REALLY? See, for me, all that is simply the “stuff” of life- and that’s ALL it is, is stuff, not LIFE. What brings happiness and fulfillment and richness of life has nothing to do with any of that; it has to do with loving and accepting what actually IS, and being at work (see: play) creating an experience for others. This kind of a relationship also provides a kind of ease as well as effectiveness (which is cool since, again, there will always be something to deal with).
In my experience, you can’t have this kind of experience and ability through simply understanding it either, you have to practice. But not practicing positive thinking it or willpower or understanding it better or even applying what you understand better, practice clarifying and fulfilling on your intention, on your business’ mission, and other activities the doing of which leave you actually present to the experience of this and not just an understanding of an idea.. Also, in next month’s post, we’ll do a little exercise/scenario that may provide further access to just that.
In the meantime, I recommend lightening up. Problems come and go, as does “stuff”, as do opinions, thoughts and feelings. YOU are not any of those things, and therefore, YOU are not actually threatened by the loss of those things. Let them be. Be free. Get your attention off of yourself, live your mission, and good luck NOT having a fulfilled, extraordinary life and awesome business.
This is it. 🙂