When the Unexpected Happens - Pinterest pinWhat do you do when the unexpected happens after you’ve invested a lot of time, effort, or emotion into something and it just doesn’t work out they way you hoped it would? Last week I was up to my ears preparing for a seminar that I was supposed to give on Saturday. The event organizers were expecting 50-60 people to show, which would be the biggest group I’d spoken for so far, so I was pretty excited.

Whenever something unexpected or unthought of falls onto our path, it’s always a stepping stone in a journey to a “place” that we have been thinking about. ~Mike Dooley

I put everything else on hold and worked my tail off to prepare for this seminar – it was a brand-new presentation, with most of the material based on stuff I talk about in the upcoming book, and I was building the whole thing from the ground up.

Big expectations

I had been asked to speak by a friend I’d met in my former life as a jewellery designer, and I really wanted to make sure this seminar was absolutely fantastic and that I packed in tons of awesome stuff to help this group of artists and creative entrepreneurs achieve the kind of success they wanted.

On the day of the seminar, I got there an hour early to make sure I’d have enough time to get everything set up in plenty of time.

And… there were only three people there. And they already had their coats on to leave.

Big disappointment

The organizer told me that he’d actually just emailed me to let me know that there was nobody there (hadn’t received it as I’d been driving at the time). He said he was hoping more people would show up before the actual start of my seminar.

But the three people who had been there drifted out during that time. And no one else came in.

So I sat around and chatted with the organizer and his wife (both friends of mine). He seemed disappointed. He’d done a lot of work to set this weekend event up, and had 60 people confirm that they’d be there on the event page or via email. So he was surprised that no one was there. Also, it’s a lot of work setting up an event. And when people tell you they’re going to be there and then don’t show up, it’s kind of distressing

Feeling sad and feeling sorry

About half an hour after my seminar was supposed to have started, they decided to call it a day and close up the venue.

So I went home and was sad about how much time I’d poured into this seminar the previous week that had “all gone to waste” and about how much I’d been hoping would come out of this event (with that many people, I was hoping it would lead to more speaking requests for other organizations).

And, of course, feeling sad about that made me start thinking about the first coffee meet-up that I did way back when, where a few people said they’d be there, but no one showed up. (In all fairness, I did receive an email afterwards from someone who had RSVPd, telling me that she had run into a traffic jam and that she’d arrived about 15 minutes after I gave up and left.)

That nasty snowball effect kicked in & I realized that feeling sorry for myself wasn't helping. Click To Tweet

And then I realized that this was entirely the wrong kind of energy and attitude to be putting out there. I could feel that nasty snowball effect kicking in, so I decided to put an end to it before it got any worse.

Watch your vibe

I decided that maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. I could look at it as an opportunity to polish the presentation up even further and make it even more useful to the next potential audience.

And that made me realize that it might even be for the same group, as I was asked if I’d be interested in coming back and trying again for a similar event in a month or two.

The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success. ~Paramahansa Yogananda

And then I started thinking that maybe the live events aren’t the only thing I could be doing with this material. I meant to start doing webinars last year but never quite got around to it, so maybe I could modify the content a bit to work well as a webinar.

Or maybe I could do something similar as an online course package. Or break it up into small chunks and do a series of Periscope broadcasts.

As soon as I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself, ideas started flowing about what I could do with all the work that I thought had been “wasted” when this even that I’d been so excited about tanked.

Let go of attachment

In short, when we’re working towards something important to us – a big dream or goal, or a milestone on the way to such – and something happens that we weren’t expecting, the best thing we can do is try shifting our perspective; to take a step back, distance ourselves a little, and try to think about the situation as if it weren’t us in the middle of it.

When the unexpected happens, shift your perspective; decide to use the 'hiccup' to your advantage. Click To Tweet

Pull away from the immediate emotional baggage surrounding the situation and try and look at it as if you were a dispassionate outsider. From this broader perspective, the next thing to do is to think of way in which this “hiccup” could actually be used in a beneficial way.

As always, when you let go of your attachment, you clear the way for the Universe to speak to you and show you how to use the circumstances to your advantage.

photo credit: pixabay.com cc (modified by me)

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