What to do When Bad Things Happen

Those who overcome great challenges will be changed, and often in unexpected ways. For our struggles enter our lives as unwelcome guests, but they bring valuable gifts. And once the pain subsides, the gifts remain. These gifts are life’s true treasures, bought at a great price, but cannot be acquired in any other way.”   Steve Goodier

Below is an excerpt from the fourth chapter of  The BET, which will be published in September 2019.

“Have you wondered if positive people ever have negative thoughts – self-doubt? Do they experience dejection or disappointment, symptoms of ‘getting down?’ Do they ever have a bad attitude? Do you know people who are always smiling?  Perhaps you know someone who always seems to have an optimistic outlook on anything and everything.  I don’t know about you, but the always-smiling-happy-person can really get on my nerves! I don’t wish bad things for this person, but you figure that every once in a while, they do experience a bad moment. They just don’t show it. Or, at least, we never see or experience the down instances with them.

The truth is, bad things happen to everyone.”

That excerpt comes from the fourth chapter titled Belief – A Winning Attitude.”  This chapter is one you will want to read again and again. The material relates to an evolution in my own thinking that occurred over many years of my life. Even though I wrote it, I have read it dozens of times. The message is important to me. I want to practice what I preach.

In the distant past, I was that type of person described above. I was the always smiling-happy-person. And, often, it did help me to be more successful. But, not  We may be at the top of our game at the moment, and yet take a huge hit by the end of the day. Have you ever had that experience? I have.

What do we need when life is not so good? What do we expect? In some companies, the top managers preach a message of not bringing to work any problems you have at home. And, spouses may not want our work difficulties to muddle our home life. There is a dividing line which some say do not cross.

I say, cross that line. Do not hesitate to cross it. The great Mahatma Gandhi proclaimed that we are all one indivisible whole. Just one person, not two. We may, out of convenience, divide our life between home and work.  Some of this is necessary and reasonable. We could never get completed at work what we need to get finished if we only talked about our home life.  However, we are still one person.  Not two. And whatever happens at work follows us home. And whatever happens at home goes with us to work. It is how we are built. We do not have a choice in this matter.

If you are sad today because you lost a friend or family member to cancer or another medical crisis, you may not be capable of smiling. You may not be happy. And, the best thing I can do as your co-worker is to recognize the whole person who arrived at work today.  I need to meet you where you are. And if I do meet you at that place, I can help you reach a place where you would be inspired to smile. Maybe not today, but tomorrow. A place where you can be positive. Where you can look back at your loss and also appreciate the value that the person you lost brought to your life.

Companies would be more successful if they purposefully recognized each of their team members as a whole entity – a complete individual with warts and all. With sadness and with hope.  In life, we want to know if the other person cares and if we can trust them. I will give you everything I can give if these two elements exist — Care and trust. If you really care about me, you must also care about my sadness. And, my losses. I want you to care about all of me. The whole person.

This same attitude of care and trust works in our personal lives too. I want my friends and family to care about me when I am not so happy and to celebrate when I am successful.

In The BET, I describe the four steps to ensuring a winning attitude. The first step is to accept reality. The reality of the lives that are around us at both work and home. The reality of the lives of our families and friends.

The best strategy for achieving a winning attitude that will create great success starts with where another person is today. Before you climb to the mountain top, you start in the valley.

Today, I will cross the line.

I will careabout the ‘whole’person.

I will celebrate your success and also share in your sadness.

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