“We’ve decided that it’s time for you to move on. Our company is going in a different direction, without you.”
“Hello, this is the Police Department. It’s about your son.”
“It’s never easy explaining this to people, but it is malignant.”
These are conversations that no one ever wants to hear. It would be naive to pretend though that we will walk through life without having one of them. What do you do though when these bad things happen, when these bombshells go off. As a follower of God, I fully believe that God uses these difficult experiences to bring about greater things. How do you do that? How do those greater things happen?
- Tell the truth, to yourself and a few others who NEED to know. Pretending like the problem at hand is ‘no biggie’ is a good way to make sure that the ‘bad thing’ becomes a ‘life ruining’ thing. Telling the truth about it, first to yourself, is the beginning of making the bad thing a greater thing. Telling the truth to ourselves means taking full responsibility for our part in the ‘bad news’, while fully acknowledging the things that were out of our control, like say the selfishness of others (again see life of Joseph in Genesis 37-50 as an example)
- No knee-jerks. Another great way to jump from the frying pan into the fire is to make quick reckless decisions in immediate response to a new crisis. Steven Sample, president of the University of Southern California and author of The Contrarians Guide to Leadership, describes in that book that his decision making process delays making decisions as long as possible. Not out of procrastination, but due to the fact that every day that you can REASONABLY delay action, you’ve given yourself another day for new data about the situation to come in. You must not use this as an excuse not to act, but as a reason to act wisely
- Make decisions based on wisdom and facts, not emotions. Gather some trusted friends and confidants around you. Process through the wreckage, and create a course of action. When we walk through a traumatic event, we don’t know what to do, or even who we really are. Those closest to us in seasons like this may be aware of our values and what is important even more than we do. Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that coaches are great at helping you interpret data in the context of what really matters most to you.
- Do what is next. Recently I was visiting a church and the pastor closed the sermon with a great thought. It was the inspiration for this post. He was teaching about neglecting the things that keep you from following God. He said “When the bad thing happens, you have a new choice about what you’ll neglect…” When the ‘bombshell’ goes off in our lives, we have a new opportunity to connect with genuine greatness in our lives. We have a chance to re-direct history and become something, make that someone new. Truthful, reasoned, wise responses insure that the bad thing becomes the greater thing.
Big Question: What is the ‘bad thing’ you’ve endured recently? Where are you in moving forward from it?