Bad stuff happens. There is no doubt about it. Sometimes the best of intentions morph into the worst; the kindest deeds become horrors; the greatest job with the most terrific boss turns into unemployment; sound investments thud into the depths of zero. There is nothing simple about facing many of these dilemmas, however, attitude and positive belief can make a tremendous difference.
Begin with best intentions. Think about a time when you really planned to complete something and even had a vision for getting it done. Then the real world of extreme business set in and you were unable to meet your obligations. For example, I had a tele-conference planned, had announced the date, given the dial in number, then promptly circled the date on my calendar. On the prescribed day one event led to another as I launched my hectic morning. I took my daily swim followed by a training run, I finished painting the family room, I mucked out the storage closet, washed clothes, and then quickly zoomed into the shower and prepared for work. Suddenly it dawned on me – the tele-conference! I ran to my planner, and with relief saw that the date circled was next week. But in the back on my mind I knew I had goofed. I called my advisor who commented on how people had been surprised (angry?) when I, the leader, was a no-show that day. They had called in and waited and waited and then moved back into their own overwhelmingly busy lives probably disgusted with me.
What could I do? An apology was inadequate, a message of sorrow did not feel much better. Finally I confronted the truth – wrong date in my mind plus an overactive schedule had tethered me with the inability to meet obligations. An email was dashed, regret was repeated, a new date and time were set. When we are live next week on the tele-conference I can say aloud how I really screwed up. Just getting my actions typed into words has forced me to feel a little better. Plus I have learned: overdoing it can be disastrous!