People ask me all the time to give them a real-world example of being Positive On Purpose. Something they can use to tamp down the feelings of frustration or the desire to “strike back” when we have had ENOUGH. Something that makes sense when we want to throw up our hands….a positive TO DO we could all use in our ever more gnarly world.
This is it.
It came to my inbox this week, from Chris Heinz, a colleague who I admire greatly. With his permission, I wanted to share the powerful question he asked himself, in order to find the positive pivot that would put him back on the path for his best next steps, after a devastating experience…one that many of us are dealing with right now.
His original email is copied below:
This Powerful Question Can Change How You Deal With Adversity
About two weeks ago, my computer and online accounts got hacked. It started with an email from Spotify alerting me of suspicious activity. Then one came from Uber, then Amazon, and on it went. I began changing the passwords to my accounts. I logged into my system’s security log, which showed multiple attempts to infiltrate my setup and steal my passwords.
As a result of the cyberattack:
+ Fraudulent purchases were charged to my bank account
+ My email program was disrupted, and emails were deleted
+ My personal Facebook account was disabled
+ My business Instagram account was disabled
I don’t know if you’ve been a victim of a cyberattack, but if you have, you know it is inconvenient, destructive, time-consuming, expensive, and rude. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.
But it did cause me to reflect for a few minutes. After I did all I could to counter the attack and restore my accounts, a powerful little question came to mind:
What does this make possible?
I could have screamed and sulked and sunk into despair. I could have thrown a temper tantrum and thought I was justified in doing so. But why give the perpetrator more of my time and energy?
Instead of looking at this from the perspective of what I lost, I considered what I could gain. I decided it would not be something done to me; it would be something done for me. I would grow as a result.
I took a breath and pondered, “What does this make possible?”
That got me thinking about how I do things. And why I do things. And what I want to change. It accelerated decisions I had been considering. It made me realize I didn’t really value some things I thought I did because restoring them wasn’t worth the effort to have them back.
As a result of the cyberattack: + I got the opportunity to fortify my account passwords + I improved my technical setup + I’m more intentional in checking online accounts + I have fewer distracting apps on my phone
In short, my operations improved.
But it also got me thinking about bigger topics like purpose, mission, and setting, which I'm still pondering. And more than that, this little question helped to deliver control and choice back to me. So the next time adversity strikes, ask, "What does this make possible?"
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