The Element of Surprise

The Queen is dead. The investigation had an outcome with grave consequences. The air is full of smoke from wildfire. The server process started running out of memory faster than new instances could boot, and your application started thrashing. You brought the people from an unhealthy family system into one place, and left feeling surprised and shocked by losing yourself in the mix.

Did this come out of nowhere—an unanticipated event at an unanticipated time happening at an unanticipated place to an unanticipated entity?

Or did you have an inkling? Did you know it would happen, but not when? Did you know something would happen then, but not what? Did the positioning of someone or someplace feel precarious, but the outcome and timing weren’t certain?

It’s rare that something takes us entirely by surprise. Often, the shock is tempered by a sense of disappointment, or resignation, or even some satisfaction or relief in no longer having to hold the tension.

What risks are in play for you right now that could turn into surprises? What things do you anticipate happening, but without a firm date or timeline? How can you make things easier for yourself when these possibilities are realized? And, when you feel blindsided by something, consider: could it have been prevented, or made unsurprising, given what you knew already—and if so, what in your thinking allowed the situation to surprise you anyway?

Did that make your day a little better?

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