Happy New Year! It’s been probably too cold to write recently as this has been a crazy stretch in the Northeast. But really this year has started off like a shot and has only recently slowed down to the cadence of a gallop.
Something happened the other day and it struck me as significant enough that I have been thinking about it for days, and I have been trying to make analogies to instruct me in other areas. My friend Vince called me and said his son was going through a relapse of a collapsed lung. Over the past year, this 16 year old has gone from a nationally recognized cross country runner to being down in the dumps, pretty much giving up on school, his chances to go to a good college, and how good life was when all was going well. His dad was threatening to take him out of private school and instead let him fare in public school from here on.
This was having tough effects on the whole family and over the phone I could tell Vince was bummed out. He was on the way to meet is wife and son and go discuss a possible second surgery to address the problem. That is the situation.
I had an Oprah Ah Hah! moment. There was another way to look at this, I told him. Instead of being stuck in the depression and agony of being hurt, and feeling the battle of consequences stemming from underperforming in school, his son had the chance to step outside of his situation and write a new story. All great stories tell the tale of overcoming adversity, and this was a chance for him to go from the dumps back to the glory. He has had a serious physical illness that was very painful, took a long time to diagnose and treat, and still is causing bodily stress, especially on these cold days. His son has gone from the top of his game literally, nationally recognized, to being completely opposite with no positive outlook or motivation. But this does not have to be his defining moment, a story that is written for him. He can actually use this as something to overcome, something to get the better of, something to springboard him to greatness as it was or to something new!
We all have some adversity in front of us. Often it is not as visible and overpowering as this one, but something. And in most, if not all cases, that adversity does not write our story for us, although sometimes it seems like it does. We can step aside, look at our situation, and write a new story from this point forward. The turn around becomes a pivot point in your story. You are not defined by your present situation. This is just the story you are writing today. At any moment, you can add a twist in the plot, or write a surprise ending. Heck, why not get the girl and the money in the end? It’s your story…
Days later, I checked in on Vince to see how his son was doing. He was amazed at the turn around that has occurred. Now he and his wife are on the same side supporting their son. And their son is taking this chance to turn things around, even denying special help at school to recover his grades, willing to take on this challenge to get back on track. Who can’t love that type of spirit?
So when the cold hits me in the face, or work piles on, or reorganizations happen and companies may get sold, I take this as an opportunity to write strength, focus, perseverance, opportunity, and optimism into my story. Why not? It’s my story!