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When things don’t go your way.

Sometimes it comes out of the blue, completely unexpected, almost as if you’re being blindsided by a truck.

This happens in business quite often, and it happens in life as well. You believe you have a stable situation and then, in the next minute, it becomes unstable.

I’ve had something like this happen to me before, and although it’s painful, I know it’s part of life. You are going to get your heart broken when you become romantically involved with other people, but you can’t experience love without taking that risk.

One time, the blow came from someone who I admire and respect. I had an idealistic vision in my head of what this future would look like, but it became apparent that it was not at all tethered in reality. I had to divorce my own ego from the situation and tell myself that I couldn’t possibly know what was running through someone else’s head, based on the text I was reading on my screen. I like to assume indifference or negligence instead of malicious intent. In all reality, even though we don’t want to admit it, that’s how the world operates. Most people, those of sound mind and body, aren’t out to intentionally hurt others.

When you realize the situation in front of you is not the one you thought it would be, you do have a choice, even though it might not feel like that at the time. You can accept whatever obstacle has been put in front of you, and acquiesce to the person who is in control of the situation, or you can cut your losses and forever lose the opportunity you once had.

I’ve gotten much better at ignoring sunk costs. Whatever work that was invested into the project in the past is a gift from your former self. Even though it’s hard to ignore sunk-cost fallacy, we have to realize that the energy already invested should have no bearing on the decision of whether or not to invest future energy.

Although the situation was not what I expected, I decided to be proactive. I wanted to be the one to make the decision, even though I knew this would cost me emotionally.

Luckily, I have a wonderful group of friends I can ask for advice, and even though they can’t make a decision for me, they can certainly help steer me in the right direction in the same way I would do for them.

For my own peace of mind, my friends all agreed that I needed to make the tough call because, in the long term, it would be best for me and my mental health.

All of this is to say that endings don’t have to be negative. I’m proud of the fact that my communications were open, kind, transparent, vulnerable, and assuming the best of the other party. I can’t say the communication coming from the other side was the same way, but I didn’t know what they were going through and I certainly can’t assume the worst. All I can do is control my response to any given situation.

When you make a decision without allowing the power of emotions to take over, you gain a sense of clarity and peace of mind afterward, even if the decision was a difficult one to make. Mine was. But now, standing on the other side, I know there are certain things I’ve lost. However, I can look myself in the mirror and know I stayed true to my own values and treated everyone with dignity and respect.

And knowing that, I will have no problem sleeping at night.

Each week in this blog series, I’ll discuss what it means to live the author life, delving into topics about mindset, craft, audience, finance, publishing, self-improvement, spirituality, technology, and more.

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