Sometimes, we can receive lessons in the darndest places. A few months ago, I was watching the TV show, Rizzoli and Isles. In one of the episodes, Rizzoli experiences something negative, and Isles reminds her to go through one of her rituals of finding the silver lining in any situation. That ritual was a simple question:
“What If This Had NOT Happened?”
The basic premise is, when something negative happens, there is almost always a benefit that comes along with it. I thought it was a great ritual, so I started to implement it in my own life. I found it to be quite powerful. It forces us out of the negative or victim mindset and propels us into the silver lining.
Whoever said that we can’t learn something from television?
Let me give you an example:
I remember at one point in my business years ago, I was flat broke. This was a new phenomenon for me. I'd never been that broke before, without that steady corporate paycheck that would bail me out of any stupidity I inflicted on myself. Now I was on my own, I was responsible. On this particular day, I was stuck in another city, with no money, and no gas to get home. It was truly a low point and I couldn’t see any positive in this.
I never spent time looking for the silver lining. But once I heard this question, I went back to this particular event and asked myself the question: “What if this never happened?” Several answers popped up:
- I'd have less humility
- I'd never have learned how to respect money at a whole new level
- I'd never know what it felt like to have a true friend who was willing to help me, unconditionally
- I’d never know how to ask for help at my lowest
I could probably find more if I kept digging. There absolutely was a lesson to be learned, and there was a silver lining, even though it didn’t feel like it.
I challenge you to find the top three negative things that happened to you in 2016, and answer this question:
What if this didn't happen? What good would I have missed out on if it never happened?
This is hard folks. And the more painful your event, the harder this will be. But growth isn’t always easy, and this is a brilliant growth opportunity if you’re willing.
If you can't find anything positive, one of two things is happening:
- You're not open to finding it
- You're not digging deep enough
This is a question that emotionally intelligent leaders can and will answer for difficult circumstances. This is where the true leaders will step in and make a difference. It’s also how they are able to let things go and move on.
Are you willing?