When I began speaking in seminars and conferences over 20 years ago there was an unspoken formula that many professional speakers ascribed to. They would open their talk with a story about something funny or interesting that happened to them on the way to their speaking engagement. The problem is nothing particularly funny or interesting had ever happened to me on the way to a speaking engagement. Until…

My friend Erik Swanson booked me for the opening keynote of the Habitude Warrior conference in November 2015. Other speakers included Greg Reid, Dave Corbin, Scott Duffy, Jim Cathcart, and Cheri Tree. One of the all-time greats, Dr. Denis Waitley, would be inducted into the Personal Growth Hall of Fame later on that evening. I was excited, energized, and ready. I showed up over 2 1/2 hours early and was informed the doors wouldn’t be open for at least 90 minutes. Fantastic, I’m in San Diego, one of my favorite cities in the world, so I took a 15-minute drive to a coffee shop on the beach and sat outside drinking a fabulous cup of coffee and enjoying the sound, sight, and smell of the ocean. Perfect.

And then it happened. The Kamikaze Seagull out of nowhere dropped a bomb left of center on the back of my stage ready white shirt. It left a quite a mark.

Did I mention this was the Habitude Warrior conference? What a great opportunity to be a positive expression of the spirit of this conference. I went into the coffee shop restroom, washed off the bomb as well as possible, and began formulating how I would tell this story in the opening of my keynote.

Have you ever been hit by a kamikaze seagull? It:

  • Comes out of nowhere
  • Drops a bomb
  • Leaves a mark

You’ve probably experienced one that comes at the worst possible time, hits way harder than a pat on the back, and takes much more than warm water and a funny story to get over it. It may come in the form of illness, injury or conflict. Car trouble, job loss or a death in the family. An unexpected break-up, a suddenly rebellious teenager, or the bomb you’re thinking of right now that is unlisted above.

What do you do when you get hit by the kamikaze seagull? Do you:

  • Panic
  • Get angry
  • Think of the worst possible scenario

I have fully engaged in all of the above at one time or another. Here are some distinctions I have found helpful when bombed by the kamikaze seagull.

  • The seagull is just doing what it does. It may feel like an attack, but on some level, it’s just nature taking its course.
  • The bomb was going to land somewhere, instead of saying “why here?” I can say “why not here?”
  • No matter how ugly, uncomfortable or devastating the bomb is, I STILL HAVE A CHOICE. I can choose how I relate to the experience and I can choose my next action.

Questions for consideration:

  1. Identify a kamikaze seagull. What was the bomb it dropped on you?
  2. How did you choose to respond?
  3. What have you learned (or what are you learning) from the experience?

“Every plant knows this: it’s only when you get crap thrown on you that you really start to grow.” –Scott Sorrell “Mr. Charge Higher Prices”