We tend to find exactly what we are looking for. If we expect negativity, we tend to find it. If we are searching for a great experience, we often find that as well. Let me give you an example from my own life.
A long time ago I was convinced that a guy at the Chick-fil-A Home Office had it in for me. He would often call me and ask difficult questions about my store that I didn’t have answers for and then took days to return phone calls when I left messages. It all left me frustrated and I began to feel like he was trying to get rid of me. Once there was a former operator who came by my store to see me. The guy at the home office found out about this visit and grilled me about it. My frustration level grew to a whole new level and I told him that if he didn’t think I was up to being an Operator, he should come get my keys (not a wise thing to say on my part but, “Whew!” I am still here).
Here is a different way that I could have chosen to view the situation:
A long time ago there was this guy who worked at the Chick-fil-A Home Office who really cared about and looked out for me. He often called to ask me questions that would force me to stretch and grow in my thinking. It wasn’t always pleasant, but if you don’t know what you don’t know, then you can’t become better, right? Sometimes when I would call him back to get his perspective on something, he would take time to think it over before calling me back. That way he could give me the best possible feedback. On one occasion I had a former operator come to visit me and talk to me about the business. I told the guy at the home office about the visit and he warned me that even though the visit seemed like nothing, it might turn out to have negative consequences and that I might want to shy away from encounters like that. At first it made me threatened as a leader, but I later came to understand the heart behind his advice and chose to appreciate where he was coming from. I grew to be thankful for my corporate office ally.
Do you see the difference in these two stories?
The difference is me. The difference is in the way I chose to look for, in the way I chose to see the situation.
We cannot control everything that happens to us. But we CAN chose how we react to it. We CAN choose how we want to frame it and what we decide that it all means. These choices can literally change everything about the outcome, but it will ALWAYS change something within us.
Here’s your homework for this week:
Make a conscious choice to look at every situation you encounter in the next week in a positive light. Then come back here and let us know how it went.