When Things Go Wrong
By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

As much as we would like to plan and lay out our lives, things at times just go wrong. I had such good plans for the Christmas break. It is my favorite time of year, the family was coming from out of town, and I would be spending time doing my year-end reflection. But wait, there was another item that needed to be addressed. My bathroom renovation. I needed to get a sink and toilet functioning before my daughter and her family arrived. At least I thought I needed to get it functioning. We do have a fully functioning bathroom, but I wanted a functioning sink and toilet in the master bathroom that is being renovated so the kids could have a bathroom to themselves.

Things started out well but quickly went downhill. My daughter and her family were scheduled to arrive Wednesday, December 27th, so the plan was to get the sink and toilet installed during the day on Wednesday. To make a long story short, they left Ohio at 2:30 AM with an estimated arrival time of 9:00 AM. That’s right I just lost a day. Not a problem. Work a bit later on Tuesday, get all the supplies, and complete the installation first thing in the morning leaving the remainder of the day to enjoy time with the family. That is until the toilet didn’t fit. I honestly don’t remember how many trips I made to Home Depot. I know it was too many.

Other issues came up that we don’t have time for in this brief message  but the reflection time never arrived, my stress level was really high and my favorite time of year was passing by and I’ll need to await eleven months for it to come again. I was bummed, frustrated, and at times angry.

Let this situation be a lesson to us all. How can we reconcile our feelings of disappointment and lack of accomplishment? Quite simply, embrace it. Lean in and realize that things don’t always go the way we want them to and that’s really okay. I had to come to realize that nothing serious had occurred. Nobody was in an accident, nobody got seriously sick, no tragedy occurred. As author, Richard Carlson writes “Don’t sweat the small stuff… and it’s all small stuff.” It was time to take a deep breath. A very deep breath!  I had to learn to adjust my plans to make the most of the time I had. I’ll reschedule the reflection.

Too often when things get off track, we focus on what is going wrong rather than on all the amazing things that are going well. This new year will have its ups and downs. Perhaps there will be more downs than ups. Learn from the downs and focus on the ups. It will be a great year!