You Call that a Bump?
On a recent trip to the East Coast I saw a sign like this, warning me of some small imperfection that wouldn’t have earned a sign in my budget-challenged home state. In fact, if you put a sign up for every pothole in our roads, well…you’d run out of signage.
Which had me thinking about how bumps in the road of life are relative. What feels like a major setback to one person may be minor to another. And two people can have very different reactions to setbacks including:
- resent the bump
- blame the bump
- blame yourself for hitting the bump (I’m so stupid!)
- ignore the bump (and continue to drive on a blown out tire)
- avoid the bump (take a 40 mile detour around it)
- accept the bump and get on with life
- and, for advanced mogul jumpers…
- see the bump as a gift
Turning Your Obstacle Into Your Catalyst
Here are some questions to consider the next time you encounter an uncomfortable jolt in the road of life:
- How am I currently dealing with the bump and how’s that working out for me? That is, is it empowering, motivating me to change? Or does it trap me in the role of victim and drain my energy?
- What’s the worst that can happen? What will likely happen in six months if I do nothing?
- What part of the bump is outside my control/sphere of influence? (And when will I accept those things that I cannot change)?
- What part of the bump is within my control/sphere of influence?
- Accepting that, what is my ideal vision?
- What first step will I take now to move ahead toward my vision?
Your first step might be a vow, forgiveness, a phone call, an appointment, a deep breath, a prayer, an apology, research, or some other not-so-baby step.
Thank Goodness for Bumps
For so many people I talk to, their greatest life-lesson came from the job they didn’t get, or the horrible boss that tormented them, a failed relationship, or health challenge. In any situation, we can always control one (and sometimes only one) thing: our reaction.
To help you gain some perspective, ask yourself,
“In 5 years, what will I say I learned/gained from this?”
What bump in life have you benefited from?
For me, I’m grateful for the car accident that broke my back 21 years ago and has led me to a life of healing and health that might have been invisible to me. And I’m grateful for the toxic work environments that inspired me to become a leadership coach dedicated to reducing others’ suffering.
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want to do either again. But I know that I’m better off for them. And besides, what’s the alternative? Wallow in regret and expend energy trying to change reality? Your energy and attention is priceless and limited. Why not spend it in ways that help you and others flourish?
How do you get over your bumps? What bump was your gift?
I’d love to know!
With love and gratitude,
P.S. – I know that even with the awareness that you need to change your thoughts, doing so isn’t easy. Check out this video for the technique and tool I use to help myself and clients re-frame their thinking and refocus their energy to get the positive results they want.