Late on a Friday afternoon is the worst time to receive an email containing bad news related to business. It leaves you with the entire weekend to think about the problem because it can’t be resolved until everyone returns to work on Monday. Unfortunately, I had this happen to me recently.
Due to a boneheaded decision on my part, a joint venture partner and I had a falling out. I take all the blame. It was entirely my fault.
The email not only voiced their displeasure but also ominously requested a phone conversation early the next week. Thanks to my inability to compartmentalize negative thoughts I spent the entire weekend with the impending uncomfortable conversation dominating my thoughts.
It’s much like when a catchy tune gets stuck in your head, except this was the stressful, “have-nightmares-about-it” version. I kept running through the phone call over and over again in my mind, trying to figure out how it would go.
There were two things that helped me work my way out of it, and turn bad into good.
First, there was this quote that I had posted on the ETR Facebook page just a few days earlier. As this quote says, when you mess up, you are actually being given a chance to learn a lot about yourself.
“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” – Bernice J. Reagon
Second, I have an incredible network of people who can keep me level headed in these situations. After I explained the situation to ETR Publisher Matt Smith, he said something that was both wise and helpful.
“When something in life occurs that is troubling, we are not supposed to dwell on the thing itself. Instead, the focus should be on our obligation to turn this bad thing into something beautiful. It’s not easy. But, if you focus your creative energy away from self torture and onto ‘how you can turn this into something beautiful’ pretty remarkable things start to happen.”
And so over that weekend, as I tried to avoid mentally torturing myself, I discovered something ‘beautiful’. I realized that in order to get through the weekend and to get over the stress, I was re-doubling my efforts at doing good things.
I spent more time in my forums answering questions on a more extensive level than normal. I put more thought and effort into Turbulence Training and ETR articles for the next two weeks. I worked harder on next month’s Turbulence Training workouts for my fitness business.
This “focus on good” elevated me from my bad mood, relieved the pressure, and turned the world positive again.
To make matters even better, my call with the upset joint venture partner turned out to be positive. My apology was accepted, and instead of conflict, we are now in co-operation. I’ve gone from embarrassed to enthusiastic, and look forward to working with this company on future products that will help them and you.
There’s a lesson here for all of us.
When things go bad, double up your efforts on doing good things. It makes you feel better, and may help even the karmic scale. You can turn bad news into something beautiful by taking positive action towards your mission and vision. Live positive.
As Dave Kekich says, “High self-esteem can only come from moral productivity and achievement.” So when things turn bad in business for you, turn them beautiful by taking action, being productive, and improving the lives of your customers and clients.
Hopefully you can take a beautiful message from my bad mistake.
Please also realize that turning something bad into something beautiful is not a fix limited to business. It can be applied to other areas of our life. For example, let’s say you are going through a divorce or loss of love of any kind. Everyone’s been there. We’ve all had bad break-ups.
But understand it’s probably not your fault. Whatever led to that loss of love is their problem, not yours. And so it’s not a time for you to wallow in self-pity, for that will do you no good.
Instead, this is the time to be at your most beautiful. If you’re funny, you shouldn’t hide inside watching reruns of “When Harry Met Sally”. You should get out and get together with your friends who love you for being funny. If you’re a natural born-organizer, you shouldn’t be at home torturing yourself and analyzing what went wrong. Instead you should be organizing a party with all of the people who matter to you and still love you.
Here’s what you need to do to start turning the balance of bad into beautiful. You need to simply take action, get moving, and build some momentum. Taking a walk, a simple stroll in some fresh air, is the easiest way to get started on your road to recovery.
During my tumultuous weekend, what helped me get better were the multiple dog walks out on the farm that I had to do each day with my chocolate lab. The walks allowed me to clear my head and use my creativity to identify solutions to the current issue. In fact, just one of those walks brought me six ideas I could use to fix the mess I had found myself in.
Don’t dwell on the negative. Instead, focus on what you can do to turn the bad into beautiful. As Matt said, flip your creative energy from self-torture to making the mistake into a positive opportunity. When you identify good things that you can do or the benefits of this new life change, remarkable things will happen. Change your perspective and opportunity arises out of the ashes.
You’ll find solutions for your problem. I promise.
That’s not bad.
[Ed. Note. Craig Ballantyne is the author of Financial Independence Monthly, a program that shows you how to achieve your financial independence in the new economy. He's also shared the 10 books that have had the greatest impact on his business and philosophies in this list here.]