You’re cruising. You’re doing great. Your work is firing on all cylinders.
Then BAM, you find yourself tripped up. You fell into a hole and now you have to work your way out.
First, are you injured? Can you stand back up? Can you shake your head and make a little goofy cartoon noise (with stars and birds floating around), or is this more serious? Assess your injury.
Second, did you see the hole coming? You have to be honest with yourself. Did it just suddenly appear, did you know it was out there somewhere, or did you literally see it in front of you all the time?
Third, how do you get out? Do you call on your boss and co-workers to bring some dirt and fill it in around you? Can you build a ladder? Can you just step out? Do you have to muster secret superhero powers and blast your way up and out?
Fourth, once you’re out, do you run away as fast as you can? Do you walk away? Do you stop and turn around and study the hole, finding out more about it? Was it big, small, oddly shaped? Have you seen a hole like this before?
Problems are not solved by formulas. Something as simple as falling in a hole, like any problem, is a bit of a Rubik’s cube. You can learn from falling. You can learn from failure. You can always use it as a way to get better.
But never assume that solutions to problems can be part of company policy or outlined in an employee handbook. One size never fits all.