Have you ever worked hard to do everything “right” only to have it all go wrong? Well that is exactly what happened to me this past week.

On Monday, Project Live Love launched the second round of a new program called GET SET. (In short, we are helping homeless veterans get prepared for jobs in the hospitality and IT industries. Visit www.GetSetAtl.com to learn more.) As the Executive Director of Project Live Love, it was my job to do the opening welcome speech to our GET SET students. I was to arrive at 9:45 and plan to speak at 10:00.

So, Monday morning finally came. I woke up at 7:35, put my oldest daughter on the bus, showered, fixed my awesome beard and mustache, and headed into my home office to get some work done before I left. I knew in my mind that I had to leave my suburban house by 9:00 to make it to our meeting downtown on time.

In the midst of a handful of things I was trying to accomplish that morning, I got a call from our program director. She needed a converter so she could connect the computer to the projector and she wanted to know if I had one.

Here is the thing… I like to think of myself as a pretty tech savvy person, but I don’t have a clue what the video connectors are called. And she needed a converter. Something like a HDMI to S-video or RCA converter or something???  I knew I had some cords that sounded like that, so at about 8:45 I went rummaging through all of my stashes of cords and began to pull out anything that looked like a converter.

I then resumed the work I needed to complete. At this time, I suppose it was about 9:05. Even with this minor time set back I felt like it was going to be tight, but I was going to make it on time. I was good. By this point, I had done everything I could do to make it go “right”.

So, I got in the car and headed out.

I arrived at the hotel at about 9:46… I’m cutting it close, but I am on time. From the lobby I gave our program director a call to see if she or someone else could give me a hand with the items I was carrying. I had the box of t-shirts, a case of bottled waters, and some other items needed for the class.

I’m in the lobby waiting, and waiting, and waiting. It is about 9:55 and I am thinking, “Huh? It sure is taking a long time for someone to get here.”

About that time, I get a call from our program facilitator who asks me where I am. I tell her I am in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza “Airport”.

She then regretfully informs me that the classes are being held in Crowne Plaza “Midtown”.

I was in the wrong place. I had blown it… I had worked so hard to do everything “right” and now I messed it all up with one simple detail.

I felt humiliated. I could not understand how I could have made such a huge error. To be honest, I was a bit angry with myself. I had wasted time, gas, and energy, and now I am going to be late, and I am supposed to “welcome” the class.

As I sat in the thrill that is Atlanta traffic making the twenty-minute drive to the Crowne Plaza “Midtown”, I began to think to myself that I could go one of two ways on this…

  1. I can let this anger and embarrassment eat at me and allow it to ruin my day and my opportunities to live love.
  2. Or, I could try to find a way to turn this blunder of mine into a positive and use it as a way to live love.

So, wanting to choose to live love more often, I went with the latter. I didn’t know how, but I needed to turn this around for myself. I began thinking of ways that I could take this negative situation and turn in into a positive one.

Then it hit me… I will tell this story as the beginning of my remarks to the GET SET class. It will be my opening illustration. You see, each of the students are homeless veterans and they know a thing or two about things not going exactly “right”.

I shared the story with them I in a way that was humorous. I made light of the mistake I had made. They got a kick out of that and it made me relatable. They all had been in a place in life where things did not go exactly “right.”

By turning this negative into a positive I was able to clear the way for the rest of my day to be full of opportunities to live love.

One thing I am learning about living love is you cannot let negative emotions and energy rule your life. Part of living love is overcoming the obstacles that get in the way. Living love is constantly opposed by anger, fear, pride, greed, and all of the other negative emotions that seek to soak up all our energy.

To live love, we must put focus on creating positivity and not dwell on negativity. In fact, negative moments in life are the holes that we are able to insert love. It’s all about perspective. Sometimes you just have to step back from it. Change your angle. Think to yourself, this is not a “negative” as much as it is an opportunity to do something “positive”.

In other words, the failure is an opportunity to do something constructive! It is your opportunity to live love. It is your moment to breakthrough the negativity and bring something positive to the world. And when you do that, you make us all better.

What negative emotions, issues, circumstances, etc. are you still hanging on too? What negative energy can you let go of and begin to direct into something positive?

I encourage you to identify any negative obstacles that are blocking your opportunities to live love. Then I would encourage you to change your perspective. Think of ways you can you can turn those obstacles into a positive to impact the world for good. View them as your opportunity to live love.

Life is not easy. Things do not always go “right.” So when they inevitably go wrong, remember, live love.

Remember, Live Love,

Drew Benton