Surprise 2016

A letter from the IRS, a speeding ticket, urgent work, injury / illness, pregnant, miscarriage, turbulence, delay, rain, temptation, bill, betrayal, meeting, visit, termination, hole in your pants, A/C’s broken, food poisoning, accident, news…

SURPRISES like these can trigger pain, stress, hunger, closing off, huddling, and hibernating. Our defense mechanisms revolt from the unexpected and our willPower has a tendency to suffer:

I wouldn’t have eaten that…drank that…done that…, but…

SURPRISE, x-y-z happened.

I wouldn’t have skipped my workout, but…

SURPRISE, I had to work late last night.

SURPRISE, I’ve been up since 3am with my baby.

SURPRISE, I had a flat tire.

SURPRISE, my boss was in a bad mood.”

Now, flip the switch and think of surprises that lighten your step, thoughts, feeling:

SURPRISE…a coworker brought you a Starbucks in the afternoon.
SURPRISE…you’ve received an award, bonus, accolade.
SURPRISE…you nailed your splits today.
SURPRISE…look at that beautiful sunset.
SURPRISE…your lover gave you a massage.
SURPRISE…you now fit into your skinny jeans.
SURPRISE…you received a call, email, message from a dear friend.
SURPRISE…no line going through airport security.

These surprises bring a smile to your face, a shine to your eyes, and a lift to your mood.

SURPRISES are inevitable. How we respond to them become a practice in willPower. Being able to continue unfettered when the defense throws up a surprise pass could be the difference between winning and losing a game. Being enlightened by a beautiful skyline could help you quicken your pace.

This week, the task is to grow in awareness of all the surprises that cross your path and…to rise to the occasion with your willPower intact.

1. Mitigate the negative surprises with… an exhale, a step back, a strategic awareness to learn from and move on thoughtfully.
2. Expand the positive surprises with… an endorphin-induced extra effort, extension, or a deliberate pause to express gratitude.
3. Create the possibility of more positive surprises by… trying something new that entices you…a new class, excursion, song, book, restaurant, gathering.
4. Reduce the possibility of negative SURPRISES by… getting enough sleep, planning ahead, buffering time, being clear and consistent with your words and actions.
5. Look at surprises with curiosity…eliminating the victim, taking-it-too-personally mentality.

For more on our Word of the Week, read It’s a…SURPRISE!

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah is a studio owner, fitness instructor and competitor. She is a former investment banker and equity research analyst with her MBA from the Wharton School and her MA in International Affairs from the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. Sarah is fluent in Japanese and consults with Japanese companies on corporate governance, finance, and investor relations. Sarah's interest in Japan stemmed from her first tour with Disney On Ice as a professional figure skater. For more info on Sarah and her studio, visit