December 16, 2013

When Disappointment Happens

Mary Kay Ash (the woman) said that if you can control your emotions, you can control your paycheck.  I'd say, with regards to entrepreneurs and business, that's largely true.  I've received a LOT of training on emotional management over the years, and it has really served me.  What has surprised me is that it serves me, not only in my business, but also in my personal life.  How often do we find our whole day derailed because something upset us emotionally?  If your answer is, "not often," then either you are not a woman, or you already know what I'm about to share and you can stop reading.

I was recently at a business retreat in which the speaker asked the following question:  What do you do to keep yourself on track emotionally?

I've learned to have a number of habits in place in order to be proactive about my emotional and spiritual state of mind.  It's important to spend time in Scripture, to surrounding myself with uplifting and encouraging people, to have a plan and work the plan rather than leaving my day to chance.  It's been said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  I've learned to spend time adding to a gratitude journal every day and to memorize scripture so that, in difficult moments, the Spirit can bring to mind the Truth I've committed to memory and encourage me.

But I've also learned that it's important to have a fall-back plan as well.  The best planning still can't prevent life - or other negative people, or tragedy, or disappointment, or messy kids, or accidents, or whatever else derails me in a day - from happening.  So I have a little thing I do when disappointment hits, in order to keep it from ruining the rest of my day.  Or week. Or month.  Whatever.

It goes like this:

First I stop and I have a fall-apart-moment.  I give time to the feeling.  I allow myself to get upset and to be mad or sad about whatever it is.  Sometimes I cry in the shower.  Sometimes I turn on loud music and sing.  Sometimes I go find chocolate in my kitchen.  Or coffee. But whatever it is... I just give myself time to fall apart...  for a moment.  Or maybe 20 minutes.  Not an hour.  Not an afternoon.  Not a week.  A moment.  
Next, I pray.  'Cuz here's what I know. Yahweh DOES have a plan for the day.  Even a plan to use whatever went wrong.  He is not surprised by whatever happened and in no way does it remove any part of His omniscience.  I may have no idea what He's doing with the day, but I know that he IS doing something.  Sometimes I pray for perspective.  (Be careful with that.  Last time I did that, Yahweh put a homeless man riding a bike, with all of his packs and bags and earthly possessions tied to said bike, with every piece of clothing he owned on his body, pedaling his way across the street in front of me, in ... wait for it ... 8 degree weather, while I sat in my cozy car mad about being inconvenienced that afternoon.  Yeah. Thanks for that, God.) Sometimes I say thanks out of discipline and I will myself to put the situation in His hands.  But bottom line: I talk to Him about it.

After that, I pick up the phone. In Mary Kay, we have a little phrase we use often.  Call up.  It means, we call our mentor, not our peers.  If I'm frustrated about business, I do not call my girlfriend who is at the same level of business that I am.  I call my business coach and ask her expert advice.  If I'm frustrated about marriage, I do not call my whiny girlfriend who is miserable in her marriage. I call my marriage counselor, or my elder friend who's been married 35 years. Or I call my friend whose marriage is great. If I'm frustrated about money, I'm not going to call my broke neighbor. I'm going to call my financial advisor.  Make sense?  Call up.  Get some good advice.  Go into solution mode, not whiny mode.

And last:  I do something productive or proactive. I take a look at my plan for the day and pick one or two things I can do in the next 20 minutes which will move me forward. Sometimes it takes time for the person I've called to call me back, so instead of wallowing or just waiting, instead, I choose to work. Often, this little step pulls me halfway out of the hole I'm in before my mentor can even call me back.

So there you go.  Have a fall apart moment. Pray. Call up. And then do something proactive with the next 20 minutes.  The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy the life-giving kingdom-building work we are putting our hands to, so next time he tries to derail you, I encourage you to try this.  I'm praying that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19