Inside: As someone who broke her neck while teaching her kids how to play baseball, I feel qualified to write about how to turn life’s tricks into treats.
When the doctor told me that my neck was broken and that I’d be in a neck brace for around three months, it felt like a knife twisted in my gut. My soul crumpled, and more than my neck felt broken.
Forrest Gump taught me that life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get. The movie Parenthood taught me that life is like a roller coaster and that, even if we wish we were on a Merry-Go-Round, we’re all still on a roller coaster. And The Karate Kid showed me that even when you’re down, you’re not out.
Yet, with all of the various life lessons that I’ve learned from movies, nobody has ever taught me how to flip the script and turn a horrible situation into an opportunity. I had to figure that one out on my own.
Turning Tricks Into Treats
You’ve probably heard that you should use the lemons the life gives you to make lemonade. And while turning tricks into treats is a similar sentiment, not all of life’s cruel jokes come off sour like a lemon.
Sometimes, they are harsher. More than just a bitter taste in your mouth, they can hurt you to the core.
Accidents happen. Loved ones die. Then, you’re left to pick up the mess like the man behind the elephants at the circus. Bring your shovel.
The challenge and, incidentally the thing that will define you, is how you recover from the situation. What you do post-trauma will determine whether or not you can turn your trick into a treat.
After My Accident
I was just really getting into the groove on my blog. With a commitment to publish a post every day in the first year, I was writing and researching constantly. When I wasn’t doing that, I was in front of the camera filming how-to videos for different yoga poses and Pilates exercises. I had no idea what I was going to do, but I knew I couldn’t continue as usual.
After my family left the hospital, I let myself take more than my usual allotment of five minutes to host a pity party for one and sob. And, for once, I used all of that time.
Although my physical pain was managed, I hurt like no other time in my life. Thinking about the list of things I wouldn’t be doing this summer (driving, swimming, enjoying any social event) was completely overwhelming.
Plus, I knew both Pilates and yoga would be out of the question. What the heck was I going to do?!
For a moment, I started to entertain the idea that this was it–the end of my blog. Quickly, I decided that that wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted something from this.
If I was going to be wearing a neck brace for the hottest months of the year, if I was going to have my harmonious workflow interrupted, I was going to get something.
Trick or Treat–You Decide
Yeah, I was going to get something from this whole horrible experience. And, I decided, it would be wonderful!
I firmly believe that whenever something particularly horrible happens, something mind-blowingly fantastic is around the corner. When you find yourself in the situation that something horrible has happened, ask yourself this one question:
What’s in it for me?
Do This Now!
Decide what you want to learn or receive from your situation and proceed with that in mind. In my case, I decided that I wanted to end up with a book about my experience with my broken neck. This decision is the key to flipping your situation and turning your trick into a treat.
When you decide what you want, you are now empowered–pursuing a goal that you created for yourself. However, without that change in perspective, you may feel like a victim, a recipient of misfortune.
The next time you find yourself sucker-punched by life, try to put a spin on your situation and decide what you want from your experience. That simple question to yourself may be just what you need to flip the script and turn your trick into a treat.
What suggestions do you have to turn life’s tricks into treats? Let us know in the comments section below.