I just returned from a lovely vacation that included palm trees and sunshine. Just what this cold Canadian needed in February. Before I left I put everything in place so I could take a real break. That break included a light touch with email and social media and letting others manage things in my absence.

I planned to jump in with both feet again on my return. That WAS my plan — until life threw me a curve ball. I caught a monster cold down south (how’s that for ironic?) and came back too sick to work most of my first week home.
That’s made me think a lot about how, as small business owners we believe things are under our control — until they’re not.
What do you do when life throws you a curve ball?

Here’s a list of strategies I came up with this week. It’s not exhaustive by any means and I’d love to hear how you deal with those bumps in the road that send you off your intended course.

Say Yes.

This goes back to that improvisation game where you respond with “Yes and….” to whatever is offered. It’s about surrendering to what is and supporting it. The flip side is a “Yes but…” which argues with what’s happening. It actually stops the action that is needed.
Too often when things aren’t working out the way we expected, we start with the “buts”.
“I know I need to … but …”
We waste a lot of time and unnecessary energy fighting back. Saying no (which is what we’re actually saying here) is our attempt to control the future. Often we don’t even realise we’re doing it until we’re so exhausted we’re forced to surrender.

To say Yes opens the way for a very creative process. It forces us to think harder to find alternate solutions that build on what’s happening or possibilities you might have overlooked. To say Yes is to take the current circumstance in a positive direction.

I have a sign on my office door that I see every time I leave the room. It simply says “success often comes from taking a misstep in the right direction.”

For instance, I had to manage my energy carefully during my illness. That meant I had to get really clear on what was important and a priority. It’s also made me think carefully about the things I take on that I really could be getting help on.

In other words, what required my personal attention and what just needed to get done?

That kind of information is important to anyone in business. Too often as entrepreneurs we’re used to doing it all and when the unexpected comes along everything grinds to a halt. That approach puts your future at risk.
“Say yes…” to getting the help you need so that time away doesn’t mean your business languishes until your return.

* Reframe

Often our first response to an obstacle or challenge is to see it as a negative. As humans we seemed wired that way. However, to reframe something means to look at it in a new way. To let go of our assumption and gain a fresh perspective.

One way to do this is to ask yourself how another person you know would see this situation or what advice you’d give to someone else.
In my case, I knew my family would tell me to get the rest I needed. I also know that was the advice I’d give my own clients.

Catch yourself in the act of seeing only what can’t be accomplished when your initial plan falls through. Look in the opposite direction. Two little words can really help you with that.

What if?

Use that question to drill down to what’s really true, not what you think is happening.

* Practice Gratitude

If there is one truth I’m certain of in this life is that gratitude drives out fear, worry and struggle. You can’t be thankful for something and struggle against it at the same time.
Look for the gift in the obstacle. It’s there. On the Meet Aprille page I share a story that could have been painful but instead, I find myself deeply grateful for the experience. It made me who I am today and carried the seeds of some wonderful gifts.

* Stop Sign or?

Finally, if something is important, find a new way to make it real regardless of the detours. The road many not be the one you originally envisioned. Is that a good reason to abandon your goals and dreams? Perhaps the stop sign is there simply test your resolve.

Trust the process. Don’t change the destination. Adjust your ETA.

Author's Bio: 

Aprille Janes spent 20 years as a successful business consultant until she followed her true purpose, threw away the corporate suit and began building a tribe of entrepreneurs who wanted to make a real difference in their lives and the world. Aprille is now a sought after speaker, author, podcast host of the Bolder Business Podcast and successful small business mentor.