Expecting the Unexpected, Respond Don’t React

You woke up today with an expectation of how things would play out. You prepared for your meetings and calls, reviewed your projects and deadlines, and then let the dominoes fall perfectly in line throughout the day – exactly the way you set them up. No fire drills, no curveballs, and no unexpected challenges.

Reality check. That “perfect” day doesn’t exist. Instead, each one is filled with fires that spark up randomly, curveballs for us to hit, and surprises that stretch us when we least expect it. The dominoes never fall in line the way we set them up, no matter how carefully we position them.

Knowing this, here are two things to keep in mind as you approach each new day…

Expect the Unexpected
As you start each day, getting your mindset right is important. Begin by reminding yourself, “Today, things will happen that are unexpected, some good, and some bad. Challenges will show up that I didn’t see coming, and that’s OK. I expect them, I welcome them, and I’m not going to let them throw me off.” Create your plans, manage your time, and position those dominoes… and then when the challenges come your way, show up well.

Respond Don’t React
No, they’re not the same thing. Reactions are quick, instant, and often panic-driven. They’re unplanned and unconscious… and our reactions can often lead to unintended results. Because they’re not thought through, what happens on the other side can create more challenges. Responses are different. When something unexpected happens and we respond to it, rather than reacting, we take a more thoughtful approach to how we show up. We expect the unexpected, and because we’re less shocked by the fires and curveballs, we’re not caught off guard. Instead, we’re able to pause, assess, and make big-picture decisions without the negative fallout.

Unexpected things are coming, so why not just expect them? The fire drills, the curve balls, and the unexpected challenges – speak to them in your mind as you start each day, and then when they do show up, slow down and respond like you knew they were coming… because you did.

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