It was a routine attempt to block a three point shot. But when University of Louisville sophomore guard Kevin Ware landed, his tibia compound fractured.

The unthinkable happened.

The next 30 minutes plus the rest of the game was a lesson to us all when dealing with life or business.

As I watched, I discovered 3 Positive Ways to Deal with the Unthinkable:

Deal in Reality
When the unthinkable happens, it’s anything but pretty. The Louisville and Duke players turned their heads away in disbelief. To their credit, CBS spared us the gruesome, repetitive replays.

In such experiences, it’s hard to believe it’s really happening.

Whether it’s a compound fracture, a cancer diagnosis, or the bank is calling in your note, we’re tempted to deny rather than deal in reality.

The supreme advantage to dealing is you confront and control what you can. You move forward to splint or examine treatment options or arrange other financing.

Express your Emotions
Next, express your emotions. Yes, you may suppress them for a short time, but the sooner you express them, the faster you move forward.

The Louisville players and Coach Rick Pitino openly cried. They confronted the reality and reacted appropriately. Someone they cared about was hurting. They hurt with him.

It’s cathartic to cry. The release of tears as well as their chemical composition provide healing.

The unthinkable is shocking. We react emotionally. Once those emotions are expressed, dealing with the unthinkable becomes easier. Think of it as we cleared the table and are ready for the next course.

Focus on the Goal
Kevin Ware, writhing in pain, was able to distance himself from the unthinkable moment, see beyond his own needs, and focus on the goal—win the game.

He said, “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. Just win the game.”

For one so young to display such maturity is rare. Most of us, especially when the unthinkable happens, are engrossed in ourselves.

When the unthinkable happens in your life or business, you deal in reality and express your emotions to get to this very point—accomplish the goal before you.

I’m fond of saying, “I’m more surprised when a project goes the way I think it will than when it doesn’t.”

By keeping your focus on the goal—“Just win the game”—you adjust to the changing conditions of doing life and business and positively deal with the unthinkable.

Thank you, Kevin Ware, for teaching us all how.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Joey Faucette is the #1 Amazon best-selling author of Work Positive in a Negative World (Entrepreneur Press), Work Positive coach, & speaker who helps business professionals increase sales with greater productivity so they leave the office earlier to do what they love with those they love. Discover more at