Expect the Unexpected

Remember when I said that thing about allowing life and business to unfold, and come to you?

Well, that was last week. Today we’re rolling up our sleeves! You didn’t get the memo?

In all seriousness, everything I said is all still true — I meant every word. And for anyone that may not know what I’m talking about, click back and read last week’s Education Moment should you want a bit more content.

The real focus this morning isn’t actually rolling up our sleeves and getting to work. Though of course, effort and action are always welcomed.

It’s about expecting the unexpected. Because the people, situations, and dynamics we’ll interact with this year will be quite fluid. One moment we’ll need to practice “actively waiting,” as I mentioned last week. But the next, it’s going to be about leaning in to have a more proactive impact.

We don’t discuss politics here, at least certainly not in a partisan way. But what’s going on in our world — politically, and medically, and socially — is a lot to BE WITH.

That’s what I want to bring to you this morning. That one of the ways we can grow and develop ourselves — as business people, as entrepreneurs, and as leaders — is to cultivate our ability to be present to, and make space for, the things that are going to show up in our faces. Said in a more colloquial way, it’s valuable to learn how to “roll with the punches.”

Here are two examples. First, I’m sure that by now you know how to deliver your thirty second elevator pitch. That perfectly planned positioning of possibility summed up in a powerfully potent presentation. But what happens if, figuratively, the elevator gets stuck? You find yourself in a break out room or meeting with multiple people and multiple conversations are taking place, as they do? Now you have to talk about yourself more than once. Can you do it without saying the same thing and sounding stale?

The greatest actors say that they learn their lines so well, they can forget them. And they’ll show up right as they’re needed. I encourage all of us to have that kind of command over the description of what we do.

Secondly, all kinds of people in all kinds of ways are going to bring their humanity — all those wonderful places that they fall short of your expectations — right to your doorstep. When they do, don’t react. Respond. Practice pausing and allowing space for your reaction, whatever it is. You might be overjoyed by something someone did or didn’t do. Or you might be royally… well, you know. Either way, whether or not you want them to know it, is another story.

Often times we don’t allow a lot of space between stimulus and reaction. I highly recommend it. Even five or ten minutes before sending that email, or just a few moments before speaking in a live conversation can make a major difference both in how something is delivered. And also on how it’s received.

Whether we’re looking inward at what we are bringing to the table, or outward at what the world brings to us, be prepared, expect the unexpected, and roll with the punches.

We’ve got a lot of fight in us. And 2021 just begun.

Ding ding!

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