There Is Always A Brightside

Y’know what I’ve noticed? People have a hard time finding the good in something when it happens to them. We have no problem finding something for someone else to be grateful for, but it’s tougher when something happens to us. This afternoon, just as I was leaving for lunch, I got a parking ticket. It’s a $32 parking ticket and I still had half a day of parking left to pay for when I returned from lunch. I yelled to the guy that I was coming, but he quickly finished writing out the note, and ran. He actually ran away as I was walking towards him. Poor guy. He must’ve thought he was in some danger. It took me quite some time to shake off the “he just ran away from me” thing. I took it very personally. I was 12 minutes late getting back to my car. I figured I’d chance it and it didn’t work out in my favour. Then I texted my friend and told her i was having a hard time finding a brightside.  It’s possible I texted the wrong friend because she wanted to burn his house down for me…which is an awesome characteristic to have in a friend should you ever need someone to do that. So she couldn’t find a bright side either.

But have you ever noticed? If you’re worried about something…say you’re worried about money, or a debt you have to pay. You can spend so much time worrying about that, and forget that there are so many things to be grateful for.

Two weeks ago, I was flying to Portland to attend the World Domination Summit for the 4th time. It’s generally an easy bet that when you fly out on the first flight of the day, you’re going to get to where you’re going pretty drama free. Portland is 1 hour and 15 minutes by plane away from where I am. It took me 12 hours to get there that day. Lots of circumstances happened. The first flight of the day had mechanical issues so they couldn’t fly. They were re-booking people, but forgot to re-book me. By the time they did get to me, after I checked in with them, all the flights were sold out. They had to find me a completely different airline. They lost my bag. I had to pay for my bag twice since I was now on a new airline…I got a food voucher thanks to the kindness of the person working behind the counter, and then the security people in Seattle took my food away from me. Because..of course. It all had to happen so I could have one of the most impacting weekends of my life. While I would have completely enjoyed my breakfast date with friends when I arrived in Portland as planned, and the burrito bowl I was planning on having at Chipotle and the time I was going to spend shopping…I’m not sure that I would have appreciated it as much once I got there.

So much gets taken for granted when things just go the way we plan for them to go. It’s when they don’t go according to plan that we really get to be extraordinary humans.  In the face of all of those things, I got to know the woman who was helping me, she had my back. She was going to make sure I was getting to where I wanted to go. She even hugged me when they found my bag and wished me well on my journey. And then a little while later, because I was still laughing and joking with the person checking me on my other flight with a completely different airline…she waived my baggage fee because there was no way in “hell” she was going to let me pay for it again. Bright side. Bright side. Bright side. I got to be awesome with those people when so many aren’t, especially at airports, and they had a chance to contribute to me which is what all humans want an opportunity to do.

The next time something goes array, or doesn’t go according to plan, or you lock your keys in your car, or the power goes out, or you miss your flight, or you don’t get the job you really wanted, or you run out of gas, or you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, or your phone dies while you’re waiting at the dentist’s office, or you’re at the dentist’s office…or any other number of things happen…look for a brightside. I bet you’ll be able to find one if you look for it.

Turn it into a game. Find one. Come tell me about it. I love brightside stories. Especially when the odds are stacked against you.

Rita xo

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How to Be Awesome When Life Goes Sideways

Listen.  Life is going to kick us in the shins every now and again.  Things are going to go sideways more often than we can count.

Relationships will ebb and flow, and we’ll have a hard time not eating that extra piece of chocolate cake, or the job we apply for isn’t going to happen.

Friends are going to talk behind our backs, we’re going to injure ourselves at the gym, or on the run, or getting off the couch, or heading downstairs to do laundry (trust me..I tore my Achilles taking a step down to finish doing laundry – CRAZY!), and we’re going to get down on ourselves with a whole lot of negative self talk when our focus shifts from what matters to us, to something a little bit more manageable and trivial.

In my case, the people at TEDx haven’t been in touch and they are announcing their speakers starting next week.  If I were going to be one of their speakers, I would’ve heard from them already.  A really good reason for me not to be awesome don’t you think?

When in reality, I had the balls to send in a speaker application. Did you hear that.  I. HAD. THE. BALLS. TO APPLY.  THAT is what makes me awesome! The other day, a friend of mine, sent me an email.  She often sends me emails, randomly, so the other day was no exception.  In the email she’d sent a link. The email said “I think you need to apply to be on the Jeff Probst show.” So, I opened up the link, and I applied. There’s a question on the application that says “Share your story”…so I shared a story. I didn’t know exactly what story they wanted, as I had no context for why she wanted me to apply. But I did it anyway.

Why?  Because life is so much more fun being a YES than a maybe, or an outright no. 

There is so much more to life than the neighbour keeping you up at night, or a job not being gotten, or a bill not getting paid, or a car breaking down, or a flat tire.  Even when all of those things happen, we still have the option. Do we keep being awesome, or do we let those things take us sideways? Is life really about circumstances? Are we only temporarily awesome?  Are we fair weather awesome? No. It’s all in perspective. Choice.

One of my most favorite things is when someone says “I’ve had the worst day ever!” And I ask “Tell me what happened…” And they start off with “Well my car wouldn’t start…” Or the one that always makes me smile on the inside “Someone cut me off on the way to work this morning…” Then I say “And then what happened…?” And they say…”Well, nothing. But the day just sucked.”

We all have the option to hit the reset button at any time. There’s no rule book that states that just because you got cut off on the way to work, or you missed your bus, or your car wouldn’t start, or you had a flat tire, that says you no longer have to be awesome in the rest of your life. Not even close.

I used to be one of those people.  Something slightly off kilter would happen, and it would make me cranky and turn my entire day into a schmozzle.

Then, something else happened. I started to see my life differently.  I started to notice that something happened, and I could let it make me cranky for the rest of the day and impact every single person I came into contact with through the entire day OR I could take that thing that happened, look at it for a few minutes, examine it, turn it around, see it from another angle, maybe talk to someone about it, and then, hit reset.

Nothing says we have to let one bad thing take us out of the rest of our lives.  Missing the bus doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Maybe you missed the first bus so you could get on the next one, and meet a super cute guy…or maybe you got a flat tire, so you wouldn’t be on the road at the same time a house is being moved which would make you late for work anyway. There are so many other perspectives. So many other ways of seeing life.

We all have moments where life goes sideways.  We all have that in common.  It happens.  Nothing can change that it happens. It just does. It’s not personal. It just happens. And contrary to popular belief, it happens to good people.

It’s how we interpret what happened that sets the stage for life.

What if the awesome meter was always set to awesome?  What if we could alter our own experiences of life simply by changing the setting?  What if you just shifted your perspective slightly from what happened being a personal attack to a life experience that could potentially teach you something?  What if your level of brilliance had nothing to do with the “what happened’s”?  What if you were amazing simply because you were?

I bet you’d walk taller. I bet you’d strut more.

So. Here’s my challenge to you. The next time something happens, and you see your day/life going sideways faster than you can say supercalafragalisticexpialadotious, remember the reset button. Take a deep breath. Sit up, and put your shoulders back, and reset yourself to awesome.

go be awesome

Rita