There is much that we can learn from what we don’t anticipate. In fact, as learners and leaders, we should seek out questions and wonderings as much as we seek out answers.
While the unknown is scary, and can certainly be stressful, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be put off by what isn’t anticipated.
For instance, our building recently had a water main issue. The repair of the main was timed to be least intrusive, occurring on a Friday. Most staff were able to work from home, but a number of our organization’s leaders (myself included) reported to the building to make sure that it was open in the event that it needed to be.
The lack of running water was a challenge (no place in the building to wash hands, and no operable bathrooms), so any time I needed water, I needed to take a walk to one of the other buildings on our campus. While it was unfortunate that it was winter, and it had dusted snow the evening before, I simply arrived in to work in my boots, measured my bathroom trips, and made it work.
In fact, knowing that I tend to be more productive when I am in the office than when I work from home, I enjoyed the chance to treat the day like a “normal” workday, and valued the slow pace of the day as a means to think deeply, reflect, and engage in some really challenging work.
Too many unexpected events can do a number on us. But, we still want enough to remind ourselves that we are resilient organisms and can persevere in different scenarios, even if they are incredibly minor, like lack of running water in a building.
So, we should welcome the unexpected, and take value in the unanticipated. These scenarios are what remind us of the need to be constantly open to new experiences.
(Note: We had water in the building later that morning!)