290 - When Disaster Strikes It Could Mean Opportunity - John Laurito
Episode 290 When Disaster Strikes It Could Mean Opportunity Tomorrows Leader Podcast with John Laurito

290 – When Disaster Strikes It Could Mean Opportunity

Expectations make you feel in control and organized. You may feel out of control when something doesn’t go as planned. In this episode, host John Laurito shares an experience where things didn’t go as planned. When unexpected things happen, you can either see it as a total failure or an opportunity to look for a better alternative.

[0:00] Intro

[1:10] One riddle down, one more to go

[3:52] Storytime!

[11:38] Disasters are chances to figure out something better

[15:22] Don’t fight it, and don’t let it immobilize you

[17:35] Outro

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John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership. What makes the best leaders so good? After running companies small and large over the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good. Welcome to tomorrow’s leader. 

John All right. Welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dove deep into all things leader related to leading yourself and leading others. I’m John Laurito, your host once again, back again. We are now close to 300 episodes. We’re closing in on that. That’s a big milestone. I got to say. I’m very excited about that. We’re going to do something special. Actually, I’m interested in your ideas on what we should do for the 300th episode. I think it’s in ten episodes. If I’m not mistaken, I lose track. So yeah, I think we’re like ten or 11 away, so that should be in the next few weeks. 

John So if you have ideas, let me know, okay? I know what’s on your mind. I gotcha. You’re wondering about the answers to the riddles that I posed during the pose to you in the last couple of podcasts. So if you remember two podcasts ago, if you’ve been keeping up the riddle was a man pulls up in his car in front of a hotel, looks at the hotel immediately, and knows he is bankrupt. How? Why? Well, I did get some very quick responses. I got a number of incorrect answers and I got a very fast correct response. And that response was given by my father, John Laurito. That’s right. I know you’re saying it’s an inside job. It’s not. I did not. He had no idea I was even doing this. 

John He’s an avid listener. Appreciate you, dad. And he is one smart guy. He’s smart, as they say, up in Boston. Smart, very smart. Like off the charts. Smart. He figured it out and the answer is ready. It’s a game of Monopoly. That’s right. You’re saying to yourself, why the. Oh, my God, it’s crazy. Yes. Game of Monopoly. The piece with the guy in the car pulls up, sees a hotel, knows he’s bankrupt immediately. So that is the answer to the riddle I did. The second place goes to Paul Haynes. Paul, another super smart guy. He also got it right. I’m sure many others did. I did get a lot of incorrect guesses. I appreciate your efforts. I am not going to give the answer to the second riddle because I’m going to give a little bit more time. I have not gotten anybody to guess it. Yes. And that again, I’ll repeat it. And the same thing goes for you. 

John I’ll give you some props. I’ll make you famous on this because now this is in 90 different countries. Your name will be announced all across the world. And the riddle, again, if you didn’t get it, was a woman who was born in 1971 yet is celebrating this year her 38th birthday and we are in 2022. How is that possible? What? So that’s the riddle. If you get it to me, email or text me, you have my info again. I’ll give it to you if you don’t have a john at Laurito group dot com 8605737230. And let me know what your guess is. You’ll get a signed autographed copy of my book to Mars Leader sent to you, and I’ll announce you on the show as the smartest person that I know or one of the smartest, smartest I know a lot of smart people. Okay, so story time. So I had this incredible experience. I went camping last week with my son Nick and my brother-in-law, Jeff, and my nephew Gavin. And I got to tell you, was an unbelievable experience. So what we did, which was really cool, I’m a huge kayaker. 

John I love kayaking and kayak a lot. I just try and get out as much as I can and nice weather. And we go to a lake called Harris Lake. For those of you in the Holly Springs area, you know where I’m talking about. And we decided that we would kayak out on a Friday late afternoon and we would tow behind us inflatable rafts and we would have all our camping equipment in it. And then we would set up a camp on some remote, desolate area of the lake and we would camp there overnight. Really, really cool idea. So we had planned this for literally like a month and we had everything planned. We, we just prepared. We had checklist after checklist. I mean, just ultra, ultra planned plan, this thing to a tee and it truly was. I just love the idea. I was really excited about it. 

John We were just obviously watching the weather. The weather cooperated. We knew as a couple of days, you know, leading up to it, it was going to be gorgeous, like mid-eighties, sunny, clear skies go down at night to mid-60, something like that. I mean, perfect, perfect outdoor weather. And we still did not find out if we could actually do this. So I will tell you, we were a little concerned about that. We would get kicked off of this. There are no homes on the perimeter of this lake, so we just were kind of taking a chance. We didn’t know. You know, do patrol boats come around and kick you off of this lake if you’re camping? I don’t know. Still don’t know. You’re guessing by me telling the story that we did not get kicked off or the fact that I just said that we did not. We didn’t. It was fantastic. So we get there. We row about a mile, we get a kayak, and we find the spot that we kind of scooped out, pulled our kayaks up and the floats and everything like that, got all our stuff. And as you know, with camping, as you may know, the first thing you do is just set up your campsite. 

John You know, you get the tents set up and all this kind of stuff. And Jeff puts his tent up in, like, record time, like less than 2 minutes. Beautiful tent. I mean, all set and I’m thinking artisanal. I spent a long time putting this tent together. So I open up the tent and I see I see the steaks. I see the string and the rope. I see the poles. I see the kind of flap that goes over the top. What I don’t see is the tent, the tent itself. And this is not a very big bag. I’m looking and I’m fumbling through the bag. I’m like, where’s the tent? And I see every other part of this tent except the most important part of it, which is the tent itself. I’ve got everything to hang the tent. Set it up. I just don’t have the tent itself. 

John Wow. Obviously, my heart drops and I’m thinking to myself, oh, my God. And Nick is standing near me, my son. And he said, What? I said, Buddy, I really screwed up. Actually, I think what I said is, that we have a problem. We forgot the tent, and he quickly corrected me to say, no, you forgot that. This is true. This was my problem. This was my I own this. I’m like, Buddy, I forgot the tent. I think what we need is still in the garage. I thought it was in this bag. I can’t believe this. And now think about this. What’s the one thing you can’t forget if you’re camping? You can forget a pan. You could forget a plate. You could forget a knife or whatever. I mean, whatever stuff you bring those ancillary things. You can’t forget the tent. I mean, what do you do? We’re out in the middle of the woods. Like what? 

John Well, minivan. I’m really taking a tailspin here. And I’m thinking, oh, my gosh, all this planning, this incredibly awesome camping experience is going to be now just this shitstorm, and it’s just going to suck. And I’m just I’m kind of at a loss. I don’t even know what to say. And Nick said, well, you know, we did bring the hammocks with us, and we did. So what was great is we have this great hammock in my back yard area where I’ve got two hammocks and one is like a chair hammock, the other is a real hammock, a huge thing. And I will tell you, it is unbelievable. For those of you who have not laid in a hammock, do it. Figure out a way to get a hammock or just lay in one. It is so relaxing. It is unbelievable. So the bottom line is, we get this, you know, Nick’s like, we got the hammocks. We brought the hammocks. Let’s we’ll sleep in the hammocks. And I’m thinking, you know what, buddy? 

John You’re right. Why not? Like, okay, let’s make the best out of this. And, you know, you hear my dog barking in the background. I can’t control it. Sorry, but you basically, I’m like, we thank God we brought these hammocks. So he and I locate these two trees. Each of us, you know, get the two upper trees right on the water’s edge. And we put this hammock or hammocks up between these trees on the water’s edge. And when I say on the water’s edge, if I got out of my hammock on the wrong side, I would have landed in the lake. That’s truly how much on the water’s edge it was, and a clear view right up to the sky. And we ended up having the best night’s sleep we have ever had. I mean, Nick woke up in the morning and I will tell you, it was unbelievable. We woke up at like 730 in the morning and we woke up at that early in the morning and we saw this unbelievable sky that was incredible. 

John It was like, I’m sorry, not at 730 in the morning, in the middle of the night. I remember waking up at 2:00 in the morning and I just opened my eyes and this guy was filled with stars. I mean, it was incredible. I’m going to sleep. I’m hearing the water lap against the shore. I’m hearing like birds and stuff like that and, you know, weird noises you hear in the woods. I mean, but it was so relaxing and it was so comfortable. It was unbelievable. And we both woke up and just the, you know, the morning sun with the sunrise, it was just it was incredible. It was incredible. We both kind of peeked out of our hammocks kind of at the same time and just started talking about what an incredible night’s sleep that was. So here’s my thought. 

John What would have been in my mind? A disaster turned out to be the best camping experience we could have ever had. Nick, myself, Jeff, and Gavin had such a fun time. I mean, we couldn’t stop talking about it after. We still keep talking about it. This was only a week ago, a week ago today, actually, some taping this. And it was just one of these things that we wouldn’t change a thing, including the fact, you know what, I’m glad I didn’t bring the tent because had I brought the tent, we would not have slept in the hammocks. I guarantee it. We brought them just because we were kind of cool to lounge around in them, but we wouldn’t have slept in them if we had a tent. And I guarantee we would not have had the type of experience that sleeping experience that we had. 

John So here I was in a situation where something disastrous in my mind happened, and it turned out actually to be a great thing. So what I think about as a leader and all of you running organizations and the stresses and everything, you have to deal with them. Believe me, I know what you’re talking about. I’ve dealt with it, you know, tons of times when something unexpected happens or doesn’t go right and it seems like a disaster. And I will give you tons of different examples. It could be a client leaving you. It could be one of your key employees resigns or. Somebody who you rely on, your assistant resigns. It could be something where a product launch fails miserably or you’re doing R&D and it’s just you’re failing. On trying to figure out the right formula for something. 

John Then you’ve just you’ve hit your max and you fail, fail, fail, fail, and whatever it is. Oftentimes when you think about this, these disasters at the moment open up a whole new path for you to figure out something that actually is even better. So, you know, I think about that a lot of times. I think about the pandemic. You know, I started my business on I resigned on February 14th of 20, 23 weeks before the pandemic, and had all these keynotes lined up. I was going to be the keynote speaker and it just evaporated. But what that did is open up a whole new way of doing business for everybody, doing virtual meetings and doing virtual business. It helped me go in a whole different direction to doing consulting and doing work with people in a different way, other than just doing keynotes, which I love doing keynotes, but it pushed me in a different direction than I wouldn’t have gone. 

John That turned out to be even better, truly, even better. You know, I think about there was a time I was running the Hartford office and I had two actual or two leaders of mine who were two superstars. And at the time they were two very successful managers for me, Nate and Felix. And both of them were really on the cusp of doing some terrific things and really moving the organization in the right direction and going from you’ve heard the story from 100 all the way to number one in the country and about midway through that journey, or maybe two-thirds of the way through that journey. So we’re kind of at a critical point. And both these guys had been very integral in reshaping the whole organization. 

John They got called away to active duty. They were in the reserves and got called into active duty for a year. So it was one of these things they had no control over. I had no control over it. But they were now two of my key people leaving the organization for a year. And I remember how stressed I was about it and how miserable I was and like how this timing and let alone the whole the effect on them. I just felt horrible that they had to do this. But what respect I have for them and anybody that’s in that situation, I mean, you listen, you make a commitment to protect this country. And that’s most important. Like the other stuff can wait, you know, and that’s what happens. But in any event, it was a disruption at the time and I know did not was unexpected. But here’s what it did. It opened up new ways of thinking about stuff. It opened up me to leading other people and developing them more than I probably would have in ramping other leaders. 

John And when Nate and Felix got back, which they crushed it when they got back, we were even in a better spot. And so when they came in, they just were really key to getting us up to number one. So I think back to that, there are sometimes things that happen when you lose somebody, it’s painful, but maybe that’s going to open up the door for you to bring in somebody even better. I’ve seen that happen many, many times. So a lot of times these disasters that we feel are there now that are going to just totally derail us are really just things that are pushing us in a new direction. And there’s something there for you to figure out. You just got to keep your eyes open and look forward. And there’s some better experience or opportunity that’s waiting for you that this door that’s closed now is causing you to go through some other doors. 

John So don’t fight it. It’s okay just to recognize the fact that you’re frustrated and this is not a great situation and feels like a disaster. But don’t let that immobilize you and recognize the fact that, you know what? Oftentimes these times present push us in a different direction. That puts ultimately gives us a better answer than we had before, a better experience than we had before, a better business result than we had before, and better people than we had before. Whatever the case may be, that happens a lot. So I thought the camping story was a great example of that awesome, awesome time. Want to hear more? Reach out to me. I love sharing stories like that. So in any event. Sure. One, today, I hope this was helpful for you just to kind of get the wheels turning again. 

John I know you’re all face and stuff and reach out to me, let me know, you know, tell me about your disaster moment and if it’s happening now, which I hope it’s not. But if you’re going through it right now, reach out to me. I’ll talk to you about it. I love to just and maybe there are some things I can share with you that I know other people have dealt with and help you through it a little bit. But just keep that in mind. Oftentimes, these disasters, you know, are disguised as disasters. These are things that are opportunities that are waiting for you to find them. Go down a new path. So in any event. Hope you have a fantastic fourth. By the time you’re listening to this, you probably have let me know again, that the riddle is still out there. 

John Born in 1971, but celebrating her 30th birthday. How? Ping me. Let me know what your answer is. In the meantime, go have fun, enjoy yourself. Have a safe, happy holiday, and share. Subscribe, all that kind of good stuff. Thumbs up, Gordon below. Give a five-star review and we’ll see you next time. Thanks. 

John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on! 

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