Yesterday, I was with a friend whose phone died right in the middle of sending a text.
I was a little shocked by her dramatic reaction.
Without skipping a beat, she looked at me and said, My whole life is a mess.

Raise your hand if you have ever mentally jumped from a minor mishap to a major crisis within mere moments.
Perhaps you can identify with one of the following scenarios:
You send a text to your boyfriend and it takes them exactly 4 minutes and 23 seconds to reply. Clearly, they’re planning a life without you.
Skipping a morning alarm makes you question your adulting skills.
Misplacing keys leads to doubts about your life management abilities.
Spilling coffee on your shirt seems like a sure sign for a doomed day.
Your best friend didn’t heart your latest social media post so you start imagining a crumbling of the foundation of your friendship and draft a dramatic farewell letter.
You get a headache and suddenly, it’s not just a headache. You’re deep in WebMD, diagnosing yourself with jungle fever.
A disagreement with someone spirals into questioning all of your relationships.
Stumbling during a work presentation makes you doubt your 20 years of professional competence.

These moments often have a bizarre power over us.
They can make us question the entire direction of our lives.
But here’s the good news.
Not every cloud signals a storm.
Sometimes it’s just a cloud.
Doing cloud things.

So, how do we block the incident from taking up permanent residence in our minds?
How do we stop it from casting a shadow over our entire story?
It starts with a simple yet powerful concept of Isolating the Incident.

Isolating the incident means recognizing that what happens in one moment doesn’t dictate the next. It’s about drawing a line in the sand between the event and the overall story and purpose of your life.
Next time you find yourself automatically heading towards the worst-case scenario, pause and ask yourself: Is this truly reflective of everything, or just a single event?
More often than not, you’ll realize it’s just an isolated occurrence.

When you isolate incidents, you’ll start to see things in a new light.
A disagreement with a friend doesn’t necessarily spell the end of the relationship.
Similarly, a financial setback is not a life sentence of poverty.
You will recognizing that a rough week is just a brief moment in time and doesn’t translate into a hopeless future.
You will also realize that feeling down occasionally is a natural part of life.
It doesn’t define your mental state.
You will know that a soured business venture doesn’t mark you as a lifelong failure in entrepreneurship.

It will liberate you from the weight of momentary setbacks.
In the same way that a cloud does not bring an endless storm,
You will discover that a single incident does NOT define you or your entire journey.

God does not keep score of any of your missteps.
Each day is a new chapter, not a repeat of the last.
In His eyes, those moments are just footnotes, not the headlines, in the beautiful story He has planned for your life.

P.S. I was inspired to write today’s blog after watching the Buffalo Bills kicker miss a critical field goal from last week’s NFL playoff game. Despite his remarkable track record, I felt compelled to remind him that the moment, as heavy as it was, doesn’t define his whole career. I wanted him to know that one missed kick should not overshadow all the successful ones he’s made.

And if he is reading this, wondering,
How did Jill Donovan get my email address?
Well, the Bills might want to rethink their email security.
Kicker@buffalobills.com was a no-brainer.