I just got screwed by reality, and it’s forcing me to change creatively



The Context

Kotecki, the master painter whose whimsical art brings joy worldwide, is a master at leveraging bad situations. He says when something unexpected turns up, we have a choice. We can dwell on the negative and listen to the fear, or we can open our eyes to the possibility that something good is just around the corner. Not many people love diving headlong into change, he writes in his book, so when we're pushed into a big vat of unwanted change, that's probably a good thing.

The Tool

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REPACKAGING — Forcing yourself to appraise negative circumstances in a forward thinking way

If that sounds like the trailer for the movie of your life right now, consider asking yourself the following question. How can you use this reality to your advantage? The beauty of this is, it forces yourself to appraise negative circumstances in a forward thinking way, which helps you discover what's now possible for you. It gives you permission to see opportunities that were previously unavailable, but are now perfectly within your reach.

One of my own failures was a period of unemployment in my thirties that was particularly difficult. After several of months of applying for thousands of roles and interviewing with dozens of companies, still, no job opportunity came through. Not even some crappy job just to pay the bills and buy me some time. Straight up crickets. And initially that rejection was frustrating, as it would be for anyone. But soon it started to become sad and demoralizing, and eventually it started to wear me down like a million grains of sand. Sadly, my tactic was toxic hope, denial and doubling down. The voice inside my head said, look, just soldier on and keep doing exactly what you're doing and surely somebody will come along and tell you how special you are. That didn't work. Actually, it made things worse. Hiring managers could smell the desperation on my breath. And after a year of depleting my savings and pounding the pavement with my tongue hanging out of my mouth, a different voice inside my head said this. Okay, fuck this noise. Maybe finding a full time job is not in the cards for you right now. That's reality, and you need to accept that. Question is, how can you use this reality to your advantage? Now that you have this, what else does this make possible? That line of thinking gave me permission to see my situation with new eyes. Instead of bloodying my knuckles knocking on a door that was never going to open, I started redirected my energies into several entrepreneurial projects. Firstly, reaching out to all of my old clients to see if they had any needs around training, consulting or coaching. Which some of them did. Awesome. Secondly, writing the material for my new musical album, book and documentary. Which created business opportunities that would not have happened otherwise. Double awesome. At that point, with some of those early victories under my belt, I now newfound momentum and motivation to get things going again for myself professionally. That fueled me, both financially and creatively, for the next year or so. After which finding a full time job was much easier and faster.

The Rest

Failure doesn’t mean all hope is lost, simply that the new thing around the corner might come in different packaging. What was your biggest disappointment, and how did you use that to fuel yourself to get to the next level?

The Benefits

Weather disappointment in a healthy and useful manner
Access new sources of momentum and motivation for your next chapter
Productively redeploy your energies into games with a higher likelihood of success
Give yourself permission to see creative opportunities that were previously unavailable

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