It’s Already Happened
I am one of those people who thinks that business insight and wisdom can come from anywhere and not just from motivational speakers, best-selling business books, or gurus. In fact one of the most insightful nuggets I’ve heard came casually from the lips of a medic on a rescue helicopter.
“It’s already happened. Now it’s time to heal and recover.”
Obviously I was in shock and I’m sure I was panicked about my injuries. Would I lose my arm? Was I going to die? How bad was it?
I remember the day had been unbearably hot and we were all sipping water from canteens and spending as much time lying in the shade as we could. That’s the thing about overseas deployments, a lot of time is spent just waiting and doing busywork. Things were quiet. Under an uninterrupted desert sun, nothing makes sound except windswept sand. Everything smells like heat on those days. Even your sweat evaporates as fast as you can produce it.
And then there’s the unwritten military rule. Everything is organized until it is chaos.
The day literally exploded. Once. Twice. And then it happened over and over again. We were being shelled and scrambling to bunkers. I didn’t get to mine in time. At least that’s what I was told. Concrete from the flightline sailed up from one blast and slammed into me and I woke up in a helicopter being airlifted out for medical attention.
I’ll cut to the end. I’m fine. They put me back together. My arm and hand work well and internally there was just some deep bruising, a couple of broken ribs, and a few weeks of pain.
Back to the corpsman who was just calming me down and spoke those truthful words that forever stick with me. I don’t even know his name. I don’t even know his rank. But it is an eternal truth.You can’t change what already happened. But how you respond to it is completely yours to control.
I am glad to be alive. That’s the other takeaway from that day. For a while it was a resounding sense of clarity. Looking death right in the eye and coming away strong. That’s some powerful insight. And I lived my life differently after that day as well. I don’t know how you can’t. No matter what has happened I believe I’ve already been through worse and survived, so this, no matter what this is, will turn out okay.
So let’s delve into the message for a bit, shall we? What it means is that whatever setback or crisis has arisen, whether you’re in the middle of it or it just passed, can be dealt with. Other people have gotten through it, or similar, or worse and moved on. So can you.
It’s not fair. And that’s the truth. It’s never fair. But that’s for some other kind of philosophical analysis. The first and most important thing is that you decide where you are now, evaluate where you want to be, and chart a path.
Last year we had a big setback when the shutdowns happened and our clients wanted us to not be in their homes and businesses. One of our biggest focuses had been retirement communities and nursing homes and all of a sudden that segment of the market shut down. I had sales and revenue goals set and it was obvious we were going to fall short. So, I took that medic’s advice and realized it had already happened and I set my business on a path to heal and recover. And we did. The short version is that we made it out okay, didn’t lose any limbs, everything is intact and might be a little sore, but we’re going to be fine.
This is not to say you have to set new goals. Keeping your goals front and center is strong motivation. What I am saying is that where you are today is not where you were yesterday or last month. Being thrown off course just means you now have to take a different route to get to your destination. That’s okay because it was never about the path. It was always about getting there.
Before setting off on my own, I was an engineer. I spent weeks at a time on the road, living in hotels, and setting up factory assembly lines for clients all over the country. I hated it. The hours, the stress, the time away were all too much and I was burning out. And I remembered that medic and how I had been motivated through physical therapy. When I went in to hand in my resignation my boss really tried to talk me out of it.
“It’s not getting any better and I can’t wait for you to fire me,” I said. The damage was done and I needed to heal and recover. From that job, and for myself. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made.
Do you have employees? If you do spend some time thinking about where they are as well. Do their goals and yours align? Do you care?I think you should for both your sake. A lot of times you can be in sync with your crew, having a mutual path and really good teamwork. But don’t be afraid to realize when they are in that crisis and when they don’t realize that It’s Already Happened. Think about it. Help them to heal and recover if that’s what’s needed. Respect their need to reach their goals even when that means they need to leave the team.
Sometimes someone will really screw up. They might break or damage something. They might have done a bad job. You’re going to get that call. Think about it right now so you’ll be ready. You know It’s Already Happened, so there’s not really any point in arguing about the facts. Whew! That’s out of the way. If it’s a customer calling you can work on solving their complaint. If it’s your crewmember, you can help them heal and recover. No matter the crisis, it can be worked out.
Look for your own insights from unexpected places. Take wisdom to heart.
I’m here if you have questions.
- Rick Wren