Let’s face it. At one point or more in everyone’s life, there has been an event where things went terribly wrong. What was once expected to be a neutral or positive experience, suddenly turned to your worst nightmare.
It leaves you feeling terrible, helpless, unable to change what has happened. It is a feeling we all try to avoid at any cost. In the moment, we curl up into a ball, close our eyes, and wait for the storm to pass.
After it is over, we bandage our wounds and breathe a sigh of relief in hopes it doesn’t happen again. Well I have some unfortunate news for you. It is going to happen again. Over, and over, and over. But alas, there is hope.
The truth is, things are bound to go unexpectedly in your life at one point or another. The world is constantly changing and there are so many factors that play into the way our lives go, it is impossible to avoid these “less than pleasant” experiences.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be such a terrible experience. There is a way to turn the experience around and make it into something positive.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I heard this growing up as a child and never really thought about what it meant till recently.
After reflecting on that thought and implementing it in my own life, I have found a significant amount of success as a result. Don’t believe me? I encourage you to try this thought exercise below and see for yourself when things go south. These steps will prepare you next time the sh*t hits the fan, and help you walk away from it clean.
1. Understand Your Situation
A common mistake people make in a situation is that they fail to understand what is actually occurring. They are so wrapped in in the emotion of the moment, they are unable to take a step back and view the event for what it truly is.
In order to comprehend what is actually happening in the moment, it is crucial to drop the emotions that you are feeling, ground yourself, and become an observer. Picture a bird flying over a forest that is burning or a helicopter passing over a crowded freeway. They can see the situation from an outside perspective. They are not allowing emotion to determine what is actually occurring. They can see what is happening in the most literal sense.
The reason I use this example is because it takes you (the experiencer) out of the equation. You no longer are ruled by emotion. Instead, you understand the situation for what it truly is.
2. Accept That This is Real
This may come as a surprise to you, but most people are living in a fantasy world. They refuse to accept the situation for what it truly is. They are under the impression that if they ignore it, eventually it’ll go away. It’s not going away and ignoring it will only make things worse.
The best thing you can do after the sh*t hits the fan is to accept the situation as an ultimate reality. There is no undoing what has happened and it cannot be evaded. Once you accept that this event is part of the unchangeable past, you are ready to move on.
3. Control What YOU Can Control
It is in our human nature to believe we can control everything around us. You can see it everywhere; People trying to control the economy, control the past, control their environment, and even control other people.
The truth is, the only thing any human being has control over is THEMSELF. The sooner this is understood, the better. The thought that one can control things outside of themselves often leads to negative feelings and ultimately leaves them covered in sh*t.
If you can look inside, take responsibility for yourself and acknowledge the fact that you are the only one who can control yourself, you will feel empowered to make a change.
4. Take Action
It is not enough to have perspective and understanding about your situation. In order to walk away from the event without any long term damage, it’s vital that you take massive action.
This event occurred, it is real and cannot be changed, you cannot control anything or anyone but yourself, so what comes next?
The answer is simple, you take action that will raise you above the situation itself. You look forward toward a new destination and take the behaviors needed to get you there. You transcend beyond what you can’t control and become something greater in the process.
5. Walk Away With a Lesson
At this point, the storm is passed and you are on your way to clearer skies by taking the necessary steps to get you there. You have made it out alive and are stronger for it. You have found a way to turn a negative event into a catalyst of change. You can now hold your head high, ready for the next challenge that awaits you, armed with an arsenal of lessons.
This article was never about how to avoid a sh*t storm, because let’s face it, they are an unavoidable fact of life. What is important is that we understand that it happened, we cannot change it, and focus on the actions that lead us to where we want to go next.
Utilizing this practice will not only make the sting of an unavoidable situation less painful, but it will empower you to take action and lead you to becoming a powerhouse of positive change.