We’ve all heard it before. “I was blindsided…”
The source of this can be different for all of us. A relationship crashed. There was an accident. Something unexpected happened financially. You lost a job. An employee quit. You get hit with a rude comment. Your car breaks down. Someone backstabs you. Worse, someone dies.
It comes out of nowhere, and you’re left in shock with your jaw on the floor, asking yourself what just happened. None of us are immune to the “I didn’t see that coming” moments in life. They hit all of us with the same force, pressure, and vigor.
Three things to do when you get blindsided:
Lean Into Your Faith.
For me, everything starts here. I’ve had to learn over time that this is the first place I should go, not the last. Your faith may be very different than mine – regardless, our faith should be our go-to when the blindsides come. On a typical day for me, my personal faith in Christ is strong. In the middle of being blindsided, it can be easy to forget all the things I believe and hold true. What I’ve found is that in those moments, I need to lean deeper into my faith, not back away from it. I ask myself the following questions:
- Who is God?
- Who is in control?
- Does God love me?
- What does God promise me?
I quickly remind myself of who God is, unchanging and all-knowing. I’m shocked by being blindsided, but God is never surprised. I find myself having to dive back into my Bible to remind myself that I am not in control, but thankfully God is. I remind myself that God loves me unconditionally and that doesn’t ever change – even though my circumstances may shift. I go back to the promise that all things work together for good, and that my security comes from God, not me. I lock in on the spirit of power that God provides, not my many fears, and remind myself that fear and faith cannot coexist.
Knowing these things doesn’t guarantee that everything will go my way. Blindsides still come. It does mean that even when the outcomes are different than my expectations, I’m good. There’s something more significant going on, and I can trust in God for the results.
Reflect on Your Role.
Part of dealing with a blindside is understanding where it originated. We sometimes create environments that contribute to our blindsides, and so getting real and working to understand our contribution is important.
When my dad died of a sudden heart attack, I didn’t contribute to that. He did, by not exercising as much as he should have and not eating well. There was nothing I could have done to change it.
On the other hand, when I got divorced, I had to get real with myself and look deep into the things I did (or didn’t do) to create that environment. I had to look at the role I played and own it. Sometimes that’s what we need to do – we need to own it, whatever “it” may be.
Look Forward, Not Backward.
It can be easy to spend too much time lingering in the “own it” part of the blindside, rather than shifting your perspective forward. There’s a lot to be said about learning from our past – that’s not a permission slip to wallow in it. The quicker you can pick yourself up after being blindsided and start putting together your plan for the future, the better.
Part of this involves checking your glass. Is it half-full or half-empty? We all have an internal glass, naturally tilted toward a positive mindset or negative thinking – a blindside event will tell you which one is stronger pretty quick. With a positive mindset, you’ll bounce back from the blindside quickly and start looking at it through the lens of the opportunities and possibilities it creates. That doesn’t mean the blindside isn’t painful. Instead, the pain is there, but you choose not to focus your attention and energy on how bad it hurts. Naturally tilted to negative thinking with a half-empty glass? You’ll have to work even harder to climb out of the pit that the blindside throws you into. That said, climb. Change your focus, pull yourself up, and break free from your blindsides. Your glass half-empty is not in your DNA… you can change it!
BONUS – Ask for Help.
Sometimes you need someone else, or even multiple people, to help lift you up after being blindsided. That’s not a sign of weakness. Instead, asking for help is a sign of strength. The most successful people I know are the ones who are surrounded by other healthy people who they can reach out to when they’re feeling knocked down, trapped, or stuck. Reach out when you need to, and be that person to someone else when they’ve experienced a blindside.
None of us will live a life free from blindsides. You’re inevitably going to experience those “I didn’t see that coming” moments. How you react is key to bouncing back quickly. Go back to those core areas we discussed above, assess your situation, and as soon as you can begin looking at the new opportunities the blindside has brought you. Doors always open… sometimes we just need to look a little harder to see them.
Ready for more?
If this challenged you, and you want to continue being challenged, subscribe here to the Depth Not Width blog. I’ll be back next week to share a few thoughts on the difference between goals and resolutions, and how to keep moving toward what you want past February. They gym may be thinning out, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep chasing your goals. We’ll talk about how to keep them front and center so you actually reach the destination you want.
Til then, have an awesome rest of your week and keep working to create depth in your life! – John Gamades