A friend and colleague of mine, Susan Gilbert, CEO of OnlinePromotionSuccess.com is a focus strategist and author of the award-winning inspirational book The Land of I Can. Today on Facebook, she posted a great question: “What’s the best that could happen?” First of all, GREAT QUESTION. Second, Susan is an expert at helping people figure this out and she walks her talk, as I discovered when I interviewed her for my book Living with Enthusiasm. Here is her story from Day 10: Focus on the Good, p. 102-103.
Within a two-week period, Susan’s home was burglarized while she slept, her car was stolen, and the IRS audited her business. Watching her respond to these “situations” was a lesson in grace. Even one of these circumstances is enough to throw someone into the land of fear, blame, or depression. Yet Susan’s ability to maintain a positive mind-set amazed me…and still does. After the audit was completed, I asked her how focusing on the “good” kept her enthusiastic during these stressful incidents.
“Focusing on the good in any circumstance and being able to do so immediately is an art. With practice it can become as natural as breathing – automatic and life affirming. Two strategies really helped me through this experience. The first is believing that I create my own reality. The reality of the burglary could have been “I’ve been attacked. I’ve been violated. I’ve lost things that were important to me – physical things – a car, computer equipment an camera.” That could be a reality. And where did I create that? I created that with my thoughts. So I could also create a different reality.
I also chose to focus on the fact that I was safe and had the ability to create a safer environment. I focused on how some pre-existing problems were solved as a result of the burglary. For example, my front door had been sticking for months. I had been telling myself that it was sure to eventually lock me out. Because the burglars took my keys, I put new locks on the doors and got my front door fixed at the same time. So where did that thought come from? It came from within me. I had the ability to create my own reality.
Once I realize that I can look at any situation and create what I want from it, then it’s never about the circumstance and it’s always about my experience of the circumstance. I make that decision.
The second strategy I used was asking myself, “Where is the gift in this?” Aren’t you enthusiastic when someone gives you a gift? All of our lives, experiences are gifts – even the ones that don’t feel like it at the time. Days, weeks, months, and years later, we can look back at what felt like a disaster – the death of a loved one, a lost romance, job, illness, etc. – and say, “Gee, it didn’t feel like it at the time, but that situation was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
I was speaking with my accountant after the audit. He said, “Susan, every small business person gets hit at least once. It’s just a matter of time. Even though it came at a bad time for you, at least you can put that behind you.” That was a reframe [changing the way one looks at something] and a gift. Better that it happens now than when my company becomes a multi-million dollar business.
If you don’t train yourself to look for the gift, then it’s not even a possibility. You just stay stuck in your past thinking, “It’s a bad situation.” If you’re willing to look, anything can be a gift.
(P.S. Susan’s car was returned and the audit ended well.)
EnthusiAction: Make a list of three difficult “situations” in your life and identify the gift you received from each. If you can’t find a gift, keep looking or ask a friend to help you discover it. Sometimes, what is good is right in front of our noses or right around the corner but we gave up too soon to experience it.
If you’re in the middle of a difficult situation, trust that based on past experience, there is a gift on its way to you when you stay focused on the good and answer the question “What the best that could happen?”
Look for the good.
If you would like more genuine enthusiasm in your life…