I sit here, delayed at the airport on my visit to Des Moines, Iowa. I knew I should’ve taken the first flight out but thought I’d take advantage of the two extra hours of sleep after my early morning flight here yesterday. The current situation is bleak – I will most assuredly miss my connecting flight in Chicago. And so goes the business travel grind – yes, folks, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I’d gladly trade the Fleming’s beef for a smooth process to get back home to the fam. This simple fact here, this stuff happens. We control how we respond to everything that happens. I can sit here and be pissed or I can take the hand I’ve been dealt and just play the game as is. There’s much to do and why not take advantage of this time. Complaining and feeling sorry for myself isn’t worth the trouble.
It’s a paradigm shift – to truly take an obstacle and to turn it into an opportunity. We face challenges every day and we have choices everyday. I’ve been diving into Covey’s 7 Habits again lately as we prep for an upcoming workshop for my team at work. Covey talks a lot about this in Habit 1 – Be Proactive. Focus 3 calls this living “Above the Line”. Ryan Holiday details this in his great book, “The Obstacle is the Way”. I think Covey sums it up nicely when he talks about the gap between Stimulus and Response. It’s a space where all the magic happens. The more in tune you can get with this space and become aware of what’s happening there, the better of you’ll be. I think that simple awareness that you control that space, no one else. That’s a big thing.
So, the next time you find yourself like I am today – a situation that could easily leave anyone frustrated – I ask you to simply stop in the gap and be present and think about what your most intentional action can be. Take control – it’s there for the taking.