Your flight has arrived in Atlanta, and you’ve connected with your limo driver. You set your briefcase in the top tray of his luggage cart while he places your other bags on the lower shelf. You arrive at the limo and get in the car while he puts the luggage in the trunk. After you arrive at your hotel, you discover the briefcase is not there. When you tell the driver he forgot to pack your briefcase, he denies it was in the cart. At this point, you insist that he take you back to the airport so you can search for the briefcase. He reluctantly agrees to do so.
What thoughts would be going through your mind on the way back to the airport?
This situation actually happened to Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach.
As I heard him describe the details of this incident in episode 47 of 10xTalk podcast, I imagined the anger and frustration that I would have felt if I’d been in his place.
But Dan took a different approach. He applied the steps of his “Experience Transformer” process, which resulted in very positive outcomes.
And not just because he found his briefcase.
Even more importantly, he adjusted his perception of the experience so he took away valuable insights that influenced his handling of future situations.
Before going through his steps, first recognize that the unexpected is going to happen. That’s life.
How you respond and process the event will have a profound on your confidence and your experience for days, weeks, or months.
Ask yourself these four questions – as you’re going through the incident itself or as soon afterwards as possible.
1. What worked in the situation? What went well?
It’s important to focus on the positive first so you calm down, acknowledge the good things and keep a balanced perspective. You don’t want to allow this incident to color the rest of your day.
2. What did NOT work in the situation? What went wrong?
Recognize what your role and responsibilities were so you don’t focus on blaming others. Writing down your answers helps to de-personalize the situation, giving you distance and perspective.
3. If you could go through this experience again, knowing what you know now, how would you do it differently?
Brainstorm a series of fresh approaches because now you have experience and wisdom that you didn't have before. You free up your creativity because you've gotten past negativity.
4. What’s your “Game Plan” for next time?
Based on your responses to #3, organize your actions into a sequence so you have a new framework for responding to similar situations in the future.
Imagine if you used this approach with someone on your team or with a family member when mistakes are made. Instead of engaging in blaming, defending or other non-productive behaviors, together you review what happened and prepare for handling the situation differently (and more effectively) in the future.
This approach is similar to the 5 Magic Questions in the Reflection step of our ProStar Coach system. It really works!
Listen to the full 30-minute podcast to learn the fine points of Dan’s exercise and use these steps the next time you’re going through an unexpected, undesirable situation.
“Your brain really loves this kind of thinking because it integrates an experience into a lesson.”
- Dan Sullivan