Getting Derailed

Getting Derailed

I think we have all experienced the kind of day where things just go sideways, and we feel derailed no matter how prepared we are.

These types of days inevitably happen when something big is going on. Right?  Right.

We all have this happen from time to time and let’s face it, most times these events are completely out of our control.  However, what you do have control over is your reaction.

I was talking with one of my clients the other day, and she told me a story of how this very thing had happened to her.  She was anticipating the first day at her new dream job with enthusiasm.   She had planned, prepared, and organized herself to ensure that the first day would be amazing by alleviating any stress.   She was completely ready.  Or so she thought!

She had utilized all the tools for success that we had talked about in our coaching sessions.  She knew that first day jitters would be bad enough without needing to have any added stress by being unprepared. To minimize this, she did a few things the night before to prepare for a smooth start to her day. Some words of wisdom:

  • Choose what you will wear and put it out
  • Pack a lunch, snacks, water, and any other essentials you might need
  • Make sure you have gas in the car or have planned your transit schedule
  • Plan out your parking if applicable
  • Set a back up alarm in case of power outages etc.
  • Get a good night’s rest, minimize screen time before bed
  • Know where you are going, use google maps or your GPS
  • Anticipate traffic issues and leave yourself extra time to get there
  • Arrive early, first impressions are everything

Now as life would have it, even the best prepared can have things happen! As the story goes, my client had followed all of these steps and was feeling great as she walked out the door to jump into her car to start her exciting day ahead. Unfortunately, as she was leaving the house her small dog ran out of the house and decided to hide under her car making it impossible for her to drive away without harming the dog.  No matter what she did, no matter how much coaxing, precious Fido was not coming out until she was good and ready.

This didn’t just take a few minutes for stubborn Fido to appear but 20 minutes! As you can imagine, my client was starting to feel frustration, anxiety and panic! As panic was setting in, she realized there was no way she was getting to work on time for her first day.  Late!  Her only priority became getting to work. She was now functioning on adrenaline and was feeling completely out of control.

When these types of circumstances happen they are extremely unfortunate and can bring on a host of emotions including embarrassment, anger, and anxiety.  When this occurs, how you react is the only control that you have.

An understanding leader in an organization, will realize that there are situations that you have no control over. My advice in this type of situation is:

  1. Do not panic
  2. Take a moment to stop and breathe, take three deep, slow breaths in and out
  3. Call your supervisor ahead of your expected start time, let them know something has happened, apologize, and provide an expected arrival time
  4. When you arrive be apologetic and respectful of your supervisor’s time
  5. Show your enthusiasm and eagerness to start and make up the time missed
  6. Do not beat yourself up, as it doesn’t change the situation or do you any good; instead, focus on having a productive and positive work day with a fresh new start tomorrow
  7. Focus on the fact that you started a brand-new job that you are positive and enthusiastic about!
  8. Recite a few positive affirmations to yourself and continue breathing. 😊

The more you put focus on this unfortunate event, the more you force your manager to focus on it. Instead divert your attention to performing amazing work that will consume your leader with this instead of the one mishap that occurred.  Take control of the situation, turn it around, get back on track and show them just how profound you really are!

“It’s not what happens to you but how you react to it that matters.” – Epictetus

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