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The unexpected

unexpectedExpect the unexpected, a teacher once told me.

One of my closest friends had a stroke last week. He is 58. Right now he’s in a hospital, waiting for the stroke to stop getting bigger. He can’t move his left arm, and his left leg is definitely in ‘shuffle’ mode. His speech is slowed and his face droops a bit. Yet he’s in good spirits and already planning his recovery.

First, however, his entire life has turned upside down. He runs a small business with his wife. He also creates and publishes games. And he is a mainstay of our town’s baseball programs. So his life’s disruption is also causing disruption elsewhere.

And in case you’re wondering, he is healthy, eats healthily, and basically shouldn’t be sick.

But he is.

So what does that have to do with you and me?

Maybe you’re part of a much larger organization – or maybe you’re a one-person band. Maybe you’re somewhere in-between. Guess what – something may happen to you today or tomorrow or next month that you don’t expect. That’s not even on your radar. That doesn’t fit anywhere in your life’s frame. But it could happen. It does happen.

Will you be ready? Can you be ready?

Well, no. You can’t. By its definition, the ‘unexpected’ is just that – unexpected, out of the blue. It happens and then…you deal with it.

So, yes, you can be ready. Not with a specific response, but with a willingness to deal with the unexpected. Something unpleasant or downright nasty happens. Ok. Be frustrated. Express some anger or unhappiness. Then deal with it. It may be life- or business-changing, but it can be dealt with.

I’ve been ‘sold’ by 3 different businesses during my professional career. The first time I handled it badly. I didn’t want to change. Eventually, I realized that the unwillingness on my part to change – to adjust to new circumstances – was causing me a boatload of problems. The next 2 times I was sold, I handled it more effectively. And now I work for myself (which of course brings its own headaches – like you can’t fire the boss!).

So – like my friend – I may wake up tomorrow to drastically changed circumstances. If I do, I hope I’ll be just like him – I’ll deal with it. 

Because then – and only then – you can get on with your life.

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