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Handling the Unexpected

As much as we try to plan ahead, life sometimes throws curveballs our way. I’m sure you’ve had those moments when things just do not go the way you planned or you thought they would. At times, the detailed plans and the perfect scenarios just do not seem to work out. There have been many times in my life when I’ve imagined and planned things to go a certain way, but they end up going completely the opposite. When things don’t go according to plan, it’s easy to slip into a negative head space, and become frustrated. You feel frustrated because your emotions seem to start controlling you, instead of you controlling them. Even though it might seem impossible, you can train yourself to think positively even when things do not go the way you want them to. First, know what to pay attention to when it happens. Secondly, make a decision to move to the next step. These two steps play a major role in being able to move forward instead of feeling powerless.

“You may not control all of the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou

Last week, I had a photo shoot scheduled for some upcoming business ventures and promotions. I had meticulously planned for the photo shoot, with all of the external variables, in place. Those variables included: getting on my photographer’s schedule, clearing my calendar for the allotted time, scheduling a member of my team to accompany me, arranging wardrobe, booking a make-up artist, and scheduling my hair stylist.

The morning of the photo shoot everything had gone according to plan, and I was thinking, “so far, so good.” I made it to the salon on time, my hair stylist had my hair on point, and the makeup artist had meticulously covered my blemishes, while enhancing my best features. I arrived to the photography studio early, gathered my clothes and prepared to get dressed.

I had pre-planned four wardrobe changes. I opened my garment bag, and the first three outfits were just as I had prepared them before-hand. There was one additional outfit that I taken to the dry cleaners earlier in the week, and en route to the photo studio I stopped by the dry cleaners to pick up it up--to complete my wardrobe changes. The fourth outfit, which I had dry cleaned, was the most expensive of all of the outfits, and was a suit that actually had sentimental value. I opened the dry cleaner bag, only to discover that the jacket to my beloved suit had been ruined. What I had prepped to be a perfect photo shot had quickly and unexpectedly turned into a disaster—in my mind.

The member of my team that accompanied me, noticed my frustration and quickly made a suggestion. “Why don’t you take this ruffle blouse you brought, and pair it with this skirt of the suit instead; forget about the jacket. We have a photo shoot to do.” Her suggestion caused me to shift my attention to a possible solution, instead of dwelling on the problem. To my surprise, the outfit we created (at the spare of the moment) turned out to be the solution to what I perceived as my biggest—most expensive—problem of the day. And, that one change yielded absolutely beautiful results.

I want to share my takeaways and lessons learned from this experience with you. When you encounter the unexpected, no matter how big or small your situation is: stay calm, choose to redirect your attention, be flexible and open to suggestions, surround yourself with solution-focused people, eliminate the problem, and make the decision to take the next step. You might just discover something beautiful!

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