In life and at work, we need to expect the unexpected. In my experience the unexpected happens. A few weeks ago I was sailing past the Isle of Mull. It was early May and the mountains of Mull were covered in THICK snow. Beautiful and very unexpected. The unexpected is not always beautiful, sometimes it can highly disruptive and can knock us off track. How can we handle the unexpected, especially in the workplace?
Be open minded to the unexpected
Be open minded to the unexpected. It may encourage you to think differently and to consider options that previously you had not been aware of or that even did not exist. Be open to new ideas and opportunities.
To think differently we need to turn things on their head – literally look at them differently. What helps you to do this? For me, going for a walk helps. Find what works for you.
Be flexible and willing to try out new ideas. Flexibility is a key element of being resilient. It gives us more options in how we behave and what we do. It’s like having an internal sat nav – if one road is closed off to you then your sat nav will help you find a different way to get to your destination.
Find others who may have faced the situation that for you is so unexpected. Seek out ideas and suggestions. They may not be right for you and your situation but they may well get you thinking differently. People are so often willing to listen and to offer suggestions, tap into this support. For some, just having the space to talk about the unexpected can help to relieve the associated pressure and spark ideas.
Learn from the unexpected
The unexpected may be telling you something. For example, why has it happened? Should you have seen it coming? Could a different course of action have been more helpful?
Learning from the unexpected may reduce the risk of it recurring.
You will have goals and aspirations. Re-assess them, are they still important and relevant? If so, how can you balance these while coping with the unexpected? This is where drawing support from others, thinking differently and being flexible may help. Be realistic, you may have to change a time-scale but if something is important don’t lose sight of it.
Sometimes the unexpected can make you feel negative – about yourself, others, your situation. You may question a decision made earlier. Being negative is a waste of energy and you need all your energy to handle the unexpected. Smile, re-assess the situation and move forward. You can do it, you know you can.
Sometimes the unexpected can open up new ways of seeing the world. In all the years and seasons I have sailed past Mull I have never seen it cloaked in thick snow. It made me smile and got me thinking about how I could share the experience with you. Hope you enjoyed the start of our holiday!