Getting Past What You Can’t Get Over

Feb 23, 2015

By Mike Pallin, Floyd Wickman Master Trainer 


Let’s say you have been showing houses to Mr. and Mrs. Buyer for months. They are eager, cooperative, qualified and motivated. They show up on time and look to you for advice. And then out of the blue they call to share their good news. They just bought a For Sale By Owner and knew you would be happy for them. 

Let’s say your admin gets an offer from a title company at twice what you are paying and she bolts. The next day your buyer’s agent tells you he’s going out on his own, and thanks for the wonderful education. 

Let’s say three families who you have given your heart and soul, your blood-sweat-and-tears, to save their house and their credit, all decide to let it go to foreclosure. 

Let’s say the buyer and seller are $438 apart and neither one will budge. The deal falls apart over a used appliance! 

Let’s say your broker finds out you had lunch with a competitor and sends your license back to the State without even talking to you. 

This list could go on forever, couldn’t it? By the way, all of these things have happened to people I know. And each of these people asked me the same question, “How do you get over something like this?” 

Frankly, I don’t know if you can ever get over some things. Time doesn’t always heal all wounds. Time can give you some distance and some perspective, but hurt is hurt. My friend Pam Quay King posted this recently: “Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives.” And that reminded me of advice from Floyd that I always offer about getting past these things, even when it seems impossible to get over them. 

Learn from it. Let go. And go on. 

Somewhere in any horrible situation there is a lesson to be learned, if for no other reason than to prevent it from happening again. Searching for that lesson is a learnable skill. Believing there is a kernel of benefit to be found when “stuff” happens – is a choice, a conscious choice that results from engaging a system of looking for it. 

Being able to engage this system begins with an awareness of the symptoms – things like weekends of tears and terry-cloth-robed thumb sucking. Or putting your fist through the wall next to your desk. Or random acts of snottiness to people who don’t deserve it. Things like that should trigger a little voice that tells you it’s time to engage the brain and set the emotions aside. Time to analyze the situation. Dispassionately. 

Write down the answers to: What happened? Is it major or minor? How much of the responsibility for this is mine? What lesson have I learned? What will I do differently going forward? 

This is where a journal can be invaluable. Keep one handy. Just seeing the book lying there can remind you that it’s time to put ink on paper and think this thing through. Floyd calls it taking a “bird’s eye view,” and the Birkenstock crowd might call it raising your consciousness. What it does is give you some instant perspective, a little emotional distance from the hurt, that makes finding that lesson possible. 

The lesson to be learned isn’t always right there on the surface, but if you can force yourself to methodically and habitually look for it, the lesson will begin to jump out at you. Sometimes thumb-to-nose and waggling its’ fingers at you. 

If nothing comes to you right away, write something down anyway. Anything. Whatever pops into your head. Like automatic writing. You will be surprised at how often your first thought is your best thought, your most profound thought. 

What lesson is to be learned from this? Not ‘How am I better off?’ You’re not better off. You’re hurt. Or you’re disappointed. Or you’re frustrated or demoralized or caught by surprise at how stupid and venal and thoughtless people can be. Whatever it is that happened, look for the learning that can take place.  

Learning from it is the key. It is the gateway to letting it go. Letting it go is the first step to going on, getting past it, putting it behind you, “shaking the dust off your feet.” 

What’s the alternative? Staying stuck and off track. Paralyzed by fear and complaints.  

I believe that when you feel like you’ll never be able to get over something, there is a way to get past it and get back to living.

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