By Scott Westerman
Listen to an audio version of this message.
“Discovering the next chapters in our adventure stories are often hard because we only know what came before.”
The memories that Facebook serves up via their “On This Day” page can be at once both joyful and sobering. On any given date, I can look back over the last eight years and be reminded of the highs and lows.
A friend recently commented on this, noting that a few short years ago, she was struggling in a job she didn’t enjoy. Whereas today, she’s living the dream, feeling professionally fulfilled and happy within a corporate culture that is in sync with her values.
Back then she was living in “The Unknown Zone”. The current reality wasn’t working. And future prospects were far from clear.
How many of us are in The Unknown Zone right now?
Even in the most ideal of circumstances, there can be a daily second-guessing exercise. There’s a dark voice in every subconscious that may be wondering if the good things in the now are too good to last. If you are wrestling with a change in direction, that voice may question whether you have the ability to do it. Add in some outside stimuli, negative feedback, unexpected events, debt, kids, parents, health issues, even success, and it can feel like you’re being pulled into a rip current, toward a sea full of sharks. The vortex of The Unknown Zone.
In these moments of uncertainty it can be hard to trust that things will work out. The reality is that they will, if you can focus your energy in the right directions. Here is a prescription for navigating The Unknown Zone:
- You will get what you expect. So expect the best.
- You will become what you think about. So keep an eye on what you allow into your mind.
- Your life has a purpose. You were put here to do good things. Figuring out what and how is an ever evolving, lifelong game. Endeavor to play it well.
- You are not alone. You deserve to be surrounded by good people who will build you up when you need it and recenter you when you deserve it. Some not-so-good people will also cross your path. Embrace and nurture mutually beneficial relationships. Gently let go of everything else.
- You will experience both highs and lows. Both are temporary and will pass. How you handle them will determine the extent of your joy and pain.
- Attachment is the root of all suffering. If you’re not feeling good about something, ask yourself what attachments may be connected to it.
- Everything that happens to you is a teachable moment. Learn from these moments and never stop learning.
- As the great sales trainer, Tom Hopkins, once wrote, “We are not judged by the number of times we fail, but by the number of times we succeed. And the number of times we succeed is directly proportional to the number of times we can fail… and keep trying.” See your failures as the golden gifts of enlightenment they can be. Learn from them and get back in the game.
- Have faith in the universal law of cause and effect. Make your causes the best they can be and equally beneficial effects are inevitable.
Discovering the next chapters in our adventure stories are often hard because we only know what came before. Painful past experience, fear and resistance can keep us inside the Unknown Zone. These things keep many of us from writing new chapters that can turn the plot of our lives toward a thrilling tale of courage and accomplishment.
You may not always be able to control the events that make up your past. But you and only you will always be the author of your future.
Make it a good one!
Feedback always welcome to Scott@spartanology.com