Ever Been Hit by Citrus?

on-stageWhen life gives you lemons, you are supposed to make lemonade. If live handed me lemons, I’d be looking for salt and tequila, but the idea is the same. It doesn’t matter how you handle it when things don’t go as expected, as long as you make the best of it you’ll be fine. You have no chance, take it! Paths don’t just exist, they are made my walking them. There is light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to keep moving…

Enter: Pink invisible unicorns, Glitter, Butterflies, and David Hasselhoff…(*screeching sound of stopping tires*)

I know that is just too much to take. Have you ever realized that most motivational proverbs and quotes are useless? They make us feel good, but don’t really help? Another good one I just read is this one: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Seriously? If you don’t have a door, where did you think it would knock at? Well, it sure does make me feel better that I am a step ahead at getting ignored by good fortune. How about leaving the house?

Whatever, clear is you cannot mourn over misfortune forever and of course do we all want to get better. We’d love to take the biggest mess with poise. But isn’t it often in business and in life such that one thing comes to another, and suddenly your entire situation has changed?

When all those minute plans are thrown overboard by one short series of unfortunate events. You can plan for power outtakes and get a generator, you can get a back-up pump, but things get dicey, when on top of it all, a no traffic day is announced and you have to walk (been there). When the deadline you cannot miss is today, right when the office is hit by a norovirus epidemic and you suddenly lost 85% of your workforce. When your WiFi fails and…

No, actually that is terrible in itself, when your WiFi fails, you are doomed! Right? Time to tear out your hair and throw something against the wall, preferably your wireless router, ah no, you may need it later, just hit your head against the desk instead and sob until it’s over.

Who cares about lemonade? You didn’t want this. You just want to make this go away, now!

I had just tossed my laptop from three feet onto the concrete floor as I was on my way to the podium to connect it to the video beamer for a presentation. The laptop wouldn’t wouldn’t boot anymore. To mix things up a bit, my two (!) thumb drives couldn’t be read either. All I had were the words, “then you have to do it without a power point” and too many pairs of eyes full that looked at me full of expectation as if was about to give a stand-up routine. Okay, give me two keywords! “shit” and “good-this-was-not-20-slides-full-with-data-tables-and-diagrams”.

Aren’t so many situations in life like being on stage for an improv theater? I mean, life is an improv theater. Sometimes you just hope the next situation makes even remotely sense, but you still want to continue your act if it doesn’t.

Motivational quotes don’t make for good rules for life, but how we start with actual rules? Yes, it’s a bit ironic that there are rules for improv theater, but there are and they make a lot of sense. They make so much sense that I think everyone should take an improv theater class as preparation for any job with responsibility. Let’s just go with the first three rules:

  1. Say “yes, and!”
  2. Add new information.
  3. Don’t block.

Fighting your new reality only delays the process of moving on. So by saying “Yes, and!” you make yourself accept it. No is not an option. A “yes, and” makes you skip the complaining and by adding new information, you go all in. “Yes, the car just broke down and I need ask someone for their phone because I left mine on the kitchen table.” Don’t block would mean in this case that you accept your next step and actually go and ask people to borrow their phones. You don’t start giving your presentation while still thinking “I don’t want to do this” in the back of your mind. You want it, because that is the best way out of it.

 

Foto: Robert Bejil Photography. This was Quick Tip No 58