Interruptions were one of the few things that drove me crazy when I was busy selling Nashville Real Estate. When I was not in a time crunch, interruptions did not bother me and I rarely noticed them. However, when I had limited time, minor distractions seemed to be waiting for me around every corner. I looked at them like they were physically attacking me and my ability to sell real estate.
A friend once told me that interruptions were an opportunity and that there usually was a good reason for these daily disturbances. At the time, I thought my friend had lost his mind.
Several years ago, I had a very busy day with a full schedule. As I was inspecting some of my Nashville foreclosures, little things kept getting in my way which caused me to fall behind schedule. As the afternoon progressed, I found ways to make up some lost time which I viewed as a victory. I pulled up to one of the last homes, hoping I could make more time at this property.
The first thing I noticed was my sign. It was laying on the ground, mangled and in pieces. I was immediately aggravated as I did not have time to repair the sign and keep my tight schedule. Normally, I would have parked on the street to save time when I was ready to leave. However, I decided to pull into the driveway so I could have easier access to the parts I needed to repair the sign. After ten minutes, I found most of the parts and repaired the sign. However, it was missing one of the bolts that held it all together. I did not have another in my car, and did not have time to go to the hardware store to get one. Remembering that there were a few boxes of building materials that had been left in the home, I decided to go look inside for a bolt and nut.
I walked inside and went to the closet with the building materials, but they were gone. I assumed the cleaning crew had collected the various materials and placed them together in the house. Now I just had to find them. As I was looking through the closets, I heard a car screech to a halt in front of the home. I walked to the living room and looked out of the window. A person had parked in front of the driveway, blocking my car. Growing even more aggravated, I decided to deal with the car when I found the screw that I needed. As I was looking through the home, I heard someone yelling in front of the home. I thought, WHAT NOW, as I walked back to the living room window.
In front of the home was a young man pacing in the middle of the road with a gun in his hand. I wanted to go back and find the screw, but I could not stop watching this young man. A few seconds later another car came around the corner screeching all of its tires. The car was headed straight for the man with the gun and was accelerating. At the last second, the young man jumped to the side of the road where I usually park to avoid being hit and traded shots with the people in the car. A smarter person would have moved away from the window and taken shelter as the bullets were flying. For me, the scene was surreal. It was like watching a crime thriller in slow motion. Fortunately, no one was injured. The young man jumped in his car in hot pursuit of his attackers.
Suddenly, I forgot about my schedule and the tasks to be completed. What my friend had said about interruptions was stuck in my thoughts. This was an opportunity to reflect on life and to make a personal request on behalf of those involved in the melee. So many thoughts and questions were running through my mind. What trouble was following these kids? What would cause them to endanger themselves and the lives of others? Were the series of interruptions meant to keep me from being outside at the wrong time? Did my car being out of the road help to keep these young men from harm?
I had an overwhelming sense of gratefulness for the life I was given and the trivial problems I faced. I realized that there is some truth to what my friend has said. Interruptions provide a moment to take a step back and look at your problems in a different light. They may even be a way for us to get back on the right path when we headed in the wrong direction.
I left that neighborhood a different person. Distractions do not consume me the way they did in the past. Although, they can be somewhat annoying, I always remember to take the time to reflect on the potential opportunity when I have a series of interruptions.
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