I know it has been a while since I shared a post. I took some time, spending the last few months, conducting small business workshops, finishing up two books for a fall release, and getting ready for my fall teaching season. As I began to reflect on the first half of this year, I was reminded that no matter how strategic your plans, life will provide you some unexpected twists that can impact your future.
As an Leadership Expert, Assistant Professor of Business, and Small Business Coach, I am always reminding everyone within my reach that life is a risk. Today, I was looking at the board game called, The Game of Life. It is a game I use often, while teaching my economics class. In this game, a person travels through his or her life, from early age to retirement. During this journey around the game board, it covers jobs, marriage, career opportunities, pitfalls, and the possibility of children that can be added along the way. It is a reminder that in real life, these things can happen, and we can also experience a twist or turn, along the way.
As I was looking at this game, and reflecting on the year, I was reminded that we cannot control the events that come our way. Some of the events I am referring to are, the loss of a job, a bad relationship, or a death in the family. We certainly can’t control these events, however, we can control how we respond. We must always keep in mind that pitfalls can also be stepping stones. For instance, the loss of a job may open the door to a future opportunity that you never noticed. Getting out of a bad relationship may open the door to you meeting the right person. A death in the family, though painful, can give someone a renewed sense of how important life really is, or how important it is to spend time with those you love.
When you view life as a journey, you open yourself up to embrace the unexpected. The journey into the unexpected is where you discover who you really are. It is where your character is tested, yet you make the choice to maintain your integrity. It is during the journey of the unexpected that you send a message to your critics that you are still standing, in spite of their attempts to bring you down. It is during the journey of the unexpected that you find yourself on top of the world one day, and down in the valley the next. The key to success here is to remind yourself that these small setbacks do not define who you are. When you know who you are, you know you can recover, and you are always looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.
History reminds us that some of our most successful people did not succeed because they knew they would. They succeeded because they would not allow doubt, and the fear of the unknown, to derail their progress. They understood that the unexpected opened the door to opportunities.
I believe that the thing that hurts people the most is banking on the status quo. Successful people understand that they can lose it all. However, they know by pushing through the challenges and setbacks, they will achieve a winning outcome. The game of life is a reminder of what could happen. Yet, real life is not a game at all, and should be embraced in a meaningful way. Success is often determined by the choices you make, and your ability to embrace the unexpected. These two variables will help you navigate towards a winning outcome. As we move through the rest of the year, choose to implement these measures, embrace the unexpected, and prepare to win.