Yesterday was not at all what I had planned for it to be.
Disruption came in the form a hacker taking up residence on my web servers for this blog and my Reinventure Me podcast. As Murphy’s law might predict, they appeared the very morning my podcast was scheduled to be released. Forget those plans.
Disruptive days are like that. An event occurs that suddenly rearranges everything else you had planned. As I thought about it later, I realized I had to navigate the four temptations of a disruptive day:
- The temptation to harbor resentment. My first thought when I discovered I had a problem was to think, “I don’t have time for this.” I probably even said it out loud. Getting a website—must less two—back online was not on my agenda for the day. Resentment was rising up in me and all I wanted to do was complain about it. Why can’t my hosting provider safeguard their servers better? Why is this happening today when I have so much work to do? (You know the drill.) Then I realized that today, this was my work. It may be disruptive to my other plans, but the sooner I accept that I own responsibility for the solution, the sooner I can get on with my other plans. Too much energy is wasted fighting the presence of a disruption.
- The temptation to panic. Once I acknowledged my resentment and embraced my newfound task, I discovered an urgency to get this behind me as quickly as possible. But it wasn’t a measured, intentional urgency. Instead, the resentment I felt earlier still lingered as panic. What do I do now? What can I do? Knowing that my go-to web guy was out of town on vacation (another Murphy corollary, I’m sure), I scoured the Internet for advice, sent multiple service requests to my hosting provider (as if that would help), and sat staring at a blank webpage wondering what else I could do. My mind was racing. Not with ideas, but with frenetic panic. Should I try to reinstall a backup? Where do I even find a backup? I was unsettled and I knew at that moment that I was at risk of making mistakes. I needed to take a breath, slow down, and assess the situation.
- The temptation to act alone. Disruptions by their very nature tax our natural resources. As I considered my options, it occurred to me that I didn’t even know what they were. I was in over my head and needed help. This was no time to act alone. The temptation to do so was strong, however. As an entrepreneur, I’m used to wearing a lot of hats, learning lots of things, basically doing it all. But wisdom is knowing when to rely on others, even if it means waiting for them to arrive. Fortunately, I had another resource in my network who dropped everything (I was his disruptive event!) to come to my aid. Within hours, he had ported two sites to an entirely new hosting server. (By the way, I’m still waiting on my previous hosting provider to respond to my service requests).
- The temptation to overinflate. When asked by a few friends yesterday how my day was going, I told them I was having a bad day. I was wrong. My day wasn’t bad, just disruptive. Bad days are when tornados rip through your town or you find out that someone you loved died mercilessly at the hands of a pilot with a death wish. Bad days change your life. They leave a scar. A disruptive day, on the other hand, leaves little residue. Life goes on as it did before. Oh, I’d much rather have disruptive days than bad ones. Knowing it could be worse can make even a disruptive day more welcome.
Comment below: What are some of the temptations you face from a disruptive day?