Today is an anniversary of sorts for me, and I suspect countless others as well. March 7th, a Saturday in 2020, is a day I will not likely forget any time soon.
It was two years ago today, when a then little-known virus called Covid-19 first impacted my job, career, and life on both a personal and professional level. I had just finished the first half of a two-week leadership development project in Florida when the client made the decision to cancel the second half of the event and send everyone home a week early. A decision made with an “abundance of caution” at that point in time.
I remember boarding my plane that Saturday morning, soon to be staring out the window from 35,000 feet, and wondering about the days, weeks, and months ahead. It was an eerie flight; the plane was completely packed with people, yet all were unusually quiet. Little did I know then, but that’s when Covid became personal for me. When did it become personal for you?
I suspect, for most people living in the US, the reality became personal one week later. It was on Friday, March 13th 2020, when President Trump declared a nationwide emergency and our lives would take a detour almost two years in length and counting. Most all our lives were impacted in ways both big and small.
Just think about all the twists and turns we (all of us) have made over the past two years. The path has not been straight for anyone. It is also fair to say that some have lost and suffered far more than others. While our family was fortunate in so many ways, we also have friends who lost loved ones to the cruel and highly contagious virus. And of course, many have never fully recovered from the myriad of negative financial consequences. Each of us has a unique story to tell.
This morning, reflecting on the past two years, I share two primary observations:
First: Sometimes it is our unrealistic expectations in life that prevent us from finding happiness in our lives, relationships, and careers. I’m suggesting that if you expect a life without problems, those very expectations might be a barrier to your happiness along life’s path, complete with twists, turns, detours and bumpy roads.
It has been my observation that too many of us expect a life without problems, heartaches, and/or obstacles to overcome. Our secret desire seems to be that our road through life, and on to success, will be straight, smooth, and mostly downhill in nature. We assume the roads we take will be free of detours, bumps, potholes, and perhaps accidents as well. That is simply not the case for any of us.
“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.”
– Theodore Isaac Rubin
Second, we often can’t see the destination of our dreams from our current realities. While we might have visions of our future clearly in mind, we can’t predict with certainty what the future has in store. We can never be certain that when we get around the next curve in the road, there might be yet another detour to navigate or pothole to avoid.
Therefore, knowing your core values is important. This is also where having a general sense of direction can guide your daily decisions along the journey.
Recently, our daughter and son-in-law returned to Boise from the Denver area. They also purchased their first home in a neighborhood not all that far from our own.
Last week, Becky and I decided to see if we could find a “shortcut” or “back way” to their house by cutting through the local neighborhoods. (And of course, I wanted to prove I could find the way without the help of our phone’s GPS system.)
After the first three or four turns into the neighborhood, Becky asked, “Do you know where you are and where to turn?” My answer to her question was, “No, I don’t know exactly where we are, but I do know their home is north and east of where we are. If we keep going north and/or east, we should be there soon.” I also knew the boundary streets not to cross. Those were the streets that might indicate I had gone too far in one direction or the other.
I propose this to be a metaphor for life. If we know:
- our guiding values in which to base our daily decisions
- the general direction we would like our lives to take
- the boundary lines not to cross
we then increase the probability of reaching our destination successfully, while also enjoying the journey. I believe the title graphic for today’s missive illustrates this concept very well. Neither our lives nor our careers are likely to be a straight path on a smooth road; there will be bumps and there will be twists and turns in the road ahead.
We can think of detours in one of two ways; either as a delay in our journey, or as an opportunity to see and experience more of what life has to offer. Who knows what discoveries we might find along the way?
Head north my friends, head north.
Related Articles and Bonus Quotes Below.
How will you live, love, or lead, differently, or better, this week?
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”
PS: Listening to the world news about the attacks on the people of Ukraine this week, I again find myself wondering about the days, weeks, and months ahead. Perhaps another article for another time. For now, I’m praying for the people of Ukraine, everyone in eastern Europe, and indeed, our entire fragile world. If you believe in the power of prayer, I welcome you to join me.
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- Are Problems the Problem?
- Are My Problems My Fault?
- What Do You Expect?
- Are You Perfect Yet?
- Are Your Expectations Helping or Hurting?
- “It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness!” – Seneca
- “All roads that lead to success have to pass through Hard Work Boulevard at some point.” – Unknown
- “The road to success is through commitment.” – Will Smith
- “Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts. Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
- “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” – Muhammad Ali
- “The road to success is not a path you find, but a trail you blaze.” – Robert Breault
- “Success and Failure are on the same road; success is just a little further down the road.” – Jack Hyles
- “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
- “Ambition is the path to success; persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” – Bill Bradley
- “The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spaces.” – Will Rogers
- “Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem” – Captain Jack Sparrow