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Unexpected Challenges

Whether it’s in your business or your relationships, unexpected challenges are going to find you.

Carrie and I recently found ourselves in a crisis situation, and we learned that there are three important things you want to do — and a few things you definitely don’t want to do — to navigate any crisis successfully…


So what happened?

A few weeks ago we took a dream vacation to Majorca, Spain, and we thought it’d be fun to rent a sports car and cruise around for the day. A little sightseeing, a little romance — what could go wrong?

Well, the only problem was that when the car arrived, it was a manual. And despite my confidence, I can not drive a stick shift.

The day that followed was, without exaggeration, one of the most terrifying ordeals of our lives: lurching across foreign freeways, around wind-y mountain roads and down narrow cobblestone streets.

And during this crisis, Carrie and I needed to find a way to work together to get back to the hotel in one piece.

Watch the video for the three things we learned about how to navigate a crisis without making it worse for you or your partner.

I hope you enjoy!

Video Highlights
0:22 How To Navigate Unexpected Challenges
0:46 When Challenge Finds You
1:18 Don’t Look For Who’s Fault It Was
1:50 Analysis Is Great
2:28 Step One, Be Nice
3:54 It Was Legitimately Life Threatening
5:03 How Do We Handle The Crisis Mode
6:06 Know Your Capacities
6:56 Have The Experience, Then Let It Go
7:46 A Relationship Is A Conspiracy
8:21 Don’t Blame Each Other, Blame The Car
9:00 Debrief Then Resume Life
10:25 The Opposite Of Intimacy

Click Here For Video Transcript

Ezra: Ezra here with Carrie.

Carrie: Carrie Firestone.

Ezra: Firestones, if you didn’t know that.

Carrie: Coming to you from Majorca, Spain, where we are in a cave. We’re outside of a cave.

Ezra: Yeah, outside the cave. It’s kind of this amazing place called Cap Rocat Resort. If you ever find yourself in Majorca, it’s worth going to. What we wanna discuss today is how to navigate unexpected challenge…

Carrie: Yes.

Ezra: …which has come up for us on this trip.

Carrie: Yes, which is a…you know, it’s a thing that comes up when you travel.

Ezra: Yeah. And in life, you know. It comes up and…

Carrie: You know, some challenges you expect, like you know, going in, that something is gonna be difficult, and so you’re ready for it. You’re like, “Okay, let’s do this.”

Ezra: And even those can be tough to navigate. You know what I mean? Totally.

Carrie: Yeah, but this is not about those.

Ezra: No. This is about when challenge finds you.

Carrie: Like sometimes you’re on vacation and a challenge arises and you think like, “What? I’m on vacation. This is not supposed to be full of challenges!”

Ezra: Yeah. Or sometimes you’re just going through the world and a challenge arises. And we’ll talk about the challenge that arose and how, actually, it was really my fault. Let’s face it, okay? But the point is like any…

Carrie: But that doesn’t even matter.

Ezra: That doesn’t even matter because in the actual…like when you are confronted with this challenge, there are some things that you…that we have found work for us that you want to do and things that you don’t wanna do. The first thing that you don’t wanna do is look for whose fault it was, because that just wastes your energy.

Carrie: It is really irrelevant in the sense of like how you’re gonna get through the challenge. Really finding out whose fault it was doesn’t help you.

Ezra: Yeah, it doesn’t actually give you any sort of…it doesn’t help you navigate that challenge.

Carrie: In fact, it takes your attention away from solving the actual problem.

Ezra: Totally. And the other thing that you wanna do is not go down the rabbit hole of what went wrong and why it went wrong, and all of the stuff that comes with whose fault it was in the moment. It’s good to sort of…

Carrie: Analysis is great because it helps you figure out how to perhaps, like, not be in that situation in the future, but when you’re in the middle of actually figuring out how to get out of the situation you don’t wanna be in, you don’t need to analyze it.

Ezra: No. And the other thing is…

Carrie: Use all of your faculties for…

Ezra: Navigating it.

Carrie: Yeah.

Ezra: And the other thing is like one of the things that we always come back to pretty much in every scenario in our relationship is that our number one…like the homing beacon, what we are trying to do most is be nice to one another, be loving to one another, enjoy each other’s company in difficult times and good times. And so, like when you’re navigating challenge…

Carrie: Step one.

Ezra: Step one.

Carrie: Be nice.

Ezra: Be nice. Don’t be mean.

Carrie: Particularly to each other.

Ezra: Yes. And then to everyone else too, right? You don’t wanna be mean to anyone.

Carrie: Like if you are mean to your partner when you’re going through the challenge, then not only do you have to solve whatever problem you’re having, but you have to deal with an unhappy partner.

Ezra: Totally. And now you’re tubing it because the last thing that you wanna do in… Like if you are in a partnership, then you probably are aware that, like, if things don’t feel good, basically nothing else in life feels good. It’s like you can’t really function if things are like not good on the home front, you know. And so, like, to be in the middle of crisis and thinking that you’ve messed up in your partner’s eyes and being like… You know what I mean?

Carrie: Yeah. Then their faculties are diminished, like, a huge amount.

Ezra: And so one of the ways that you did that really well was like you did not panic in this scenario that I had gotten us into, which is that… First of all… Okay, let’s just come right out and say it. I can’t drive a stick shift. I thought I could. I once drove across the country in a stick car. And we rented this car, and…

Carrie: Okay. Well, it was like a last-minute thing. We were like, “Oh, we’ll go trip around Spain. It’ll be fun. They can get us a car, it’ll be here by noon.” And nobody told us it was not automatic.

Ezra: Nobody told us it was not automatic. We show up, we get in the car. I look at it and I think, “This is a stick shift,” and I think to myself, “Yeah, I can do this,” you know.

Carrie: Yeah, you had done it before.

Ezra: First mistake, first mistake. Yeah. But, you know, in a foreign country…

Carrie: So we, like, lurched through the parking lot.

Ezra: Yeah. Everyone was looking at us. Long story short, it was like legitimately life-threatening, this decision that I made to think that I could navigate this vehicle through a foreign country, through the streets. We ended up in a town called…

Carrie: It was terrifying.

Ezra: …Artà, where the streets are like this big and we got stuck on the freeway, we got in this gas station, everyone is laughing at us. It was like really legitimately terrifying.

Carrie: It was a high-stress situation.

Ezra: It’s was extremely high stress and…

Carrie: Hearts were pounding.

Ezra: …hearts were pounding.

Carrie: Palms were sweating.

Ezra: But you did a really good job in not, like, freaking out or telling me I was screwing up. Like you were in it, and you were navigating, and you were holding it down. Now, afterwards you thought like, “Hey, maybe let’s not get ourselves in that situation again,” and you’re like…

Carrie: Yeah. And we did analyze this and say, like…

Ezra: Like, go down the rabbit hole of, like…

Carrie: Well, don’t drive a car that you can’t actually drive. Second step, make sure your phones are charged, because we also were on, like, 2% navigation.

Ezra: And our phones died. It was…you could not write this. It was unbelievably intense and hilarious, but…

Carrie: In hindsight.

Ezra: In hindsight.

Carrie: Not hilarious in the moment.

Ezra: During it, it was terrifying and scary.

Carrie: But, you know, we’ve been working on this dynamic in our relationship, which is like when something is going wrong, how do we get through that?

Ezra: How do we handle the crisis mode? How can we be nice to each other? How can we navigate? And I will say, I cannot remember a more harrowing experience in my life, I cannot remember a scarier experience than that, like real…like for the duration that it lasted, the level of intensity. And I felt like we did it really good.

Carrie: You know, 10 years in.

Ezra: Yeah, up top, there you go. And one of other things is, like, this is a pattern I have of over-committing, right, in certain sense. I’ll be like, “I can do that!”

Carrie: Being very enthusiastic.

Ezra: Yeah. Like, “I’m going.” I’m like, “Sure, I’ll drive that thing,” you know.

Carrie: Which is a quality I love about you.

Ezra: Totally. You know, great strength, great weakness. But it’s like when we drove that car across…same thing. We drove… The last time something like this happened, I also decided I could drive a stick shift across the country with no…

Carrie: With, like, 30 minutes of preparation.

Ezra: Thirty minutes practice on it. And so that first day of driving that stick-shift car across the country was pretty intense. It wasn’t as intense as two days ago, but it was fairly intense.

Carrie: It was intense. It was like white knuckled for all of the time.

Ezra: Totally. Maybe, like, know your capacities. And really, you know, that’s… Well, we don’t have to get into…

Carrie: And also knowing your partner’s capacities. We’re rambling.

Ezra: Yeah, now we’re rumbling, but…

Carrie: But step one, be nice.

Ezra: Yeah. That’s really it, you know? It’s like if you’re in a crisis situation, you probably want all of your attention to focus on how to handle that rather than battling each other or looking for how someone screwed up. Like, that’s not gonna serve you.

Carrie: Yeah. You already have enough challenge in that situation, you don’t need to add on the challenge of being in a fight with your partner or carrying the burden of all the ways that everything is going wrong in the world at the moment.

Ezra: Do we have anything else to say about navigating unexpected challenge in relationships?

Carrie: Well, yeah. Actually, we do.

Ezra: Okay. You do.

Carrie: I do.

Ezra: Okay. There you go. Carrie Firestone, here we go.

Carrie: So another thing is, like, have the experience and then find some way to let it go, because just because you’ve had this rough moment doesn’t mean you have to then have the rest of the time that you’re on that trip or, like, in that cycle be terrible. Like, we actually had a good time when we were out in the world.

Ezra: It was really fun.

Carrie: When we were not in the car, it was actually fun. We were able to leave the drama with the stick shift.

Ezra: Yeah. But you then weren’t also, like, super upset at me, or then passive-aggressive in other ways, being like, “You screwed me over,” and then…

Carrie: Yeah. Like, it was a harrowing day, but after it was over, we were able to have fun again on our vacation. And we didn’t have to play the game of, like, “Well, you did this, and you shouldn’t have done this.” It’s like, “Let’s both take responsibility for getting us into this situation, and then let’s figure out the ways that we we’re, like, gonna do things differently for next time.

Ezra: Well, this is a good point. A relationship is a conspiracy between two people. Like, the situation that arise are created by both of you, so there is no “This is, like, they’ve done you wrong.” Why are you laughing?

Carrie: Well, like I could have known.

Ezra: Get in the stick shift?

Carrie: We should not leave the parking lot.

Ezra: Yeah, probably not. Based on the experience of trying to get out of the parking lot, I should have known.

Carrie: And based on the experience of our road trip before.

Ezra: Right. I was committed.

Carrie: Like, I could have known that, like, stick shift cars are not…

Ezra: But I had gotten pretty good, was the thing, though. You know what I mean?

Carrie: You had.

Ezra: Previously.

Carrie: You had.

Ezra: I think there was something wrong with this car. I do, because…

Carrie: Step three. Don’t blame each other, blame in the car.

Ezra: Blame the car. Yeah, because the thing is, I can drive a stick, I think. And there was something up with this one because, man, I was doing the same thing. And when we were going, when it actually got going, everything…you know, because we did end up getting it going after several lurches each time we tried.

Carrie: But this is the enthusiasm that I love. And also next time, I’m not getting in the car. Yes.

Ezra: Okay. Well, maybe I can’t drive that. I don’t know.

Carrie: You know, maybe if you would, like, practice in the parking lot.

Ezra: Yeah. Boris, I need some more lessons buddy, if you can hook me up with those again.

Carrie: Anyway. The point was after the experience is over, like, do what you need to do to debrief, clear it out, and then resume life.

Ezra: Move on, yeah.

Carrie: Yeah. Don’t bring it…like, make sure you actually…

Ezra: You know, one of the things that has your… Sorry to interrupt you. I’m interrupting you now. One of the things that, in relationship, happens a lot are these things where, like, stuff will happen, you won’t let go of it and then you’ll hold it against your partner going forward. And it’s like that does not serve you.

Carrie: It’s like the next time you’re in a situation where something is the slightest bit uncomfortable you’re like, “See? Well, you always do this, and it’s because of this. And that one time in the car in Spain.” So the debriefing is really… I’m gonna interrupt you now.

Ezra: Okay, go for it. Oh, you just smashed me. That’s okay.

Carrie: The…

Ezra: Debriefing. Yeah, I got you all out there.

Carrie: The debriefing is really important. Like, really get straight on whatever went down and get it out of your system, talk it through until you feel good. The debriefing is really important because you wanna just, like, finish that cycle, like really get everything talked through, feeling good to where there’s not anything stuck in your mind that you’re just, like, thinking over and over and over that you haven’t…

Ezra: Communicated.

Carrie: …communicated.

Ezra: Yeah. And that’s the other thing, is like if you’re holding onto stuff, if you have judgments about how your partner has behaved, or things that you think about how they do things but you don’t tell them, that’s gonna create distance. You know, that’s like…that is the opposite of intimacy, that is the opposite of closeness. Closeness is when you share what you actually think, and you be honest about that, and you’re willing to, like, you know, not to use the lingo of our time, but, like, hold the space to go through that.

Carrie: Yeah. It’s a good lingo.

Ezra: It is the lingo of this, you know… Okay. I think maybe we’re done. Yeah, you…

Carrie: Yeah. One more thing.

Ezra: We are not done.

Carrie: We’re not done. Which is a different metaphor for…

Ezra: When we get rid of not holding to something.

Carrie: Yeah. It’s like, you know, they seem small in the moment. It’s like this little weight that you put in your backpack and you carry it around with you. But you add those up, then…and you keep doing that then, like, eventually that gets really heavy and you don’t even realize that you’ve taken on so much of this burden.

Ezra: Totally.

Carrie: But you share it with your partner, you let it go, and you’re free to go and, like, in our case, live in this awesome cave for a couple of days.

Ezra: This place is amazing. If you ever make it to Majorca, Cap Rocat Resort. Oh my God. So, Carrie Firestone…

Carrie: Ezra Firestone.

Ezra: …here talking about how to navigate unexpected challenges, which will come up in your business as well. By the way, this is not just a “relating in relationship across the gender line or otherwise” thing. This is a…

Carrie: Challenge is everywhere.

Ezra: Challenge is everywhere. So, catch up with you soon. Thanks for watching.

Carrie: Bye.

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