Monday, April 2, 2018

When Life Hands You Lemons…


Life is not fair!  While this might be a true statement, it is more about what I do with it that counts instead of the initial action that causes that feeling.  Someone else’s choices or decisions can have a rippling effect beyond what is in front of them.  I am sure that I am not the only one who was told something and then stood with my jaw opened wondering if what I was hearing made sense or even if the action was fully thought out.  That is from my point of view - not the point of view of where it came from.  Change happens, for better or worse.

16 years ago, I was working for a consulting firm.  I was at a client that I had a good relationship with – they had asked for my help on this specific project.  The project was two weeks away from ending when my manager called me up and said he needed to see me the next day.  I knew how well the company was doing (not!) at that point and knew what the next day was going to bring.  “You know that I have two weeks left here,” I responded.  It did not matter.  Like the number being pulled from the lottery bin, my number was called and I had two choices – mope the next few weeks away at what had befallen me or pick myself up, brush off the dust and take a bold action - I ended up having my own business for a few years.  It was the opportunity I did not know I was looking for but gave me the chance to do something different.  As Alexander Graham Bell famously said, “When one door closes another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

Truth is, as humans, we get comfortable with where we are.  We draw these circles around parts of lives and say to ourselves that everything inside the circle is where we are happy.  In reality, though, while that circle is clearly drawn in our minds, that circle is really drawn in chalk and like a pin to a balloon, easy to burst (or erase).  Nothing about our lives remain static for long, and as a flowing river, keeps on moving.  Epictetus once said, "It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters."  In the movie, Risky Business, the running joke was the line, “Sh*t happens.”  Yes, it does.  Sometimes on a monthly, weekly or daily basis.  We all have a choice to sit around bemoaning what happened or to use the opportunity to catapult us forward.