Wednesday, July 7, 2010

When Things Go Wrong: Facing Adversity

Things go wrong. We all know it will happen sometime. Whether it is some small thing or a big thing, in any plan we make, something is bound to go wrong eventually.

Yesterday we hit a small snag in our plans for our big event when an expensive item we had ordered arrived in the mail not only late, but damaged. We probably won't be able to get a replacement in time for our event. The company we are dealing with is also being less than responsive although they packed it poorly and its their fault.

When the package arrived yesterday we were very excited. It was several days later than we had expected and we were anxious. When we opened it, we were devastated.

That's often the first reaction to something going wrong, the anger and dismay one feels when a plan has gone off track. At first we were just repeating our concerns--"look at this, it's smashed," "this box was poorly packed," "it wasn't marked fragile," "I can't believe it's smashed," etc. We just went over and over looking at the problem and reacting.

It is easy to get caught in that initial loop of disbelief, dismay, and anger. Unfortunately, that loop doesn't actually help anything. Instead we had to accept what had happened and figure out what to do next. In our case this meant documenting the damage (with photos) and contacting the company.

Our day yesterday became a lot less productive (during a stressful time) because we had to deal with an unexpected blow to our plans. If we allow ourselves to get caught up in that problem, we'll never get the rest of our plans done and this setback will be even worse, because it will affect even more of our plans.

What I've learned from this is that when things go wrong--and they will--we need to give ourselves some time to react (it's natural, after all), then try to calm down, figure out how to move forward, and then not let that problem dominate my attention. None of this is easy, particularly when the problem was upsetting and is not solved yet, but it is important if we are to do anything else and not let this one problem ruin everything else.

I think this is a lesson which can be more widely applied.

1 comment:

  1. So sorry this happened but, like you say, such things do happen :(

    As you say, it really helps to allow reaction time for dismay and anger, before moving yourselves forward.

    Hope you can get compensation from the company.


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