After taking a week off to focus on my family around the holidays, I had grand plans for kicking off 2018 with a bang of productivity. I feverishly scheduled both a planning meeting and a photo shoot for the same day at the end of the first week of January. The forecast was issued as I prepared, bringing with it a foot of snow, subfreezing temperatures and high winds. Roads were impassable. I found myself stuck at home for more than 24 hours, as was the entire state of Connecticut.
I felt the stress well up in me. “What am I going to do? What a waste of a day!” I complained to my poor husband. After a few minutes of venting, I poured a cup of tea and sat down to clear my head. I took some deep breaths and quickly found myself settling into relief and calm. I realized that my busy work schedule often leaves me putting off jobs that need to be tackled at home. I shifted my priorities from professional tasks to projects within my home. “Wow,” I thought. “I can get to organizing some things that have been nagging at me for a while.” I wrote out a quick to do list, turned up my favorite music up a bit, and went to work de-cluttering closets and rearranging cupboards that have been nagging at me for months. By the end of the day, I had beautifully organized shelves, two bags of trash, and three boxes of items to deliver to the local second-hand shop when the storm cleared 36 hours later.
I teach my clients that all of our power lies, not in the events or circumstances that present themselves, but in our response to those events and circumstances. I found myself laughing a bit that my initial reaction was one of frustration and at the fact that I needed to remind myself to step back and take my own advice. We are empowered beings and we retain our power, even when things don't go as planned. We always have choice, and that is our superpower. We can’t change events, but we can change the effect that they have on our lives.
Often, what appears to be an obstacle is actually an opportunity in disguise and we have the choice to turn a perceived challenge into something wonderful. If I were to have spent the snow day frustrated by the fact that my photo shoot and planning meeting were cancelled by weather, all I would have to show for myself would have been an unpleasant, unproductive, stress-filled day. Instead, I spent the day clearing away some of the little irritants that steal my energy by nagging at me until they are completed. By choosing to view the situation as a blessing rather than a problem, the outcome was one of calm satisfaction at completing tasks that required a full day of undivided attention – a full day I did not otherwise have to allocate in the coming weeks.
Make it a practice to look for the opportunity when things don't go as planned. Enjoy a blessed 2018.