Let's Connect!
« Infuse Love / Evoke Passion | Main | Of Leaders and Lemmings »

Opportunities and Incoveniences

I was only out of college a couple of years when I had a boss that had a favorite saying that drove me nuts. I would go into his office with a “crisis” that was going on with a vendor, customer or prospect and he would say, “We have opportunities and inconveniences.” Then he would stare at me standing there. That’s it. No more. In other words, “Figure it out.” I immediately would think of what my mother would say to my siblings and me when we would come to her and say, “I can’t (do something).” She would consistently “remind” us that “can’t” was a word that really meant nothing to her and we would need to come up with a better option before we came back to her with our dilemma.

Fast forward many years and I reflect on how fortunate I feel now that I was given the opportunity (aka: forced) to “figure it out”. Time and again, I've seen leaders, managers, parents and teachers do their best to control situations and never give the people they serve the chance to correct/manage/lead their “inconvenience” without attaching some fear of getting busted for doing it “wrong”. I wouldn't be able to notice that in others if I wasn't also guilty as charged. How much talent is being squashed in our collective personal or professional environments every day because of thoughts like “what will happen if I don’t do it right, don’t know how, am afraid to ask for direction, etc.” for fear of some (usually unspoken) retribution? How very unproductive and unfortunate to have this victim mentality so prevalent in our cultures with all the talent, wisdom and experiences we have available among us.

What I’ve come to notice in true leaders is the consistent theme of self-responsibility. I don’t mean leaders by title alone as many of them still play the blame game. True leaders know that the only really effective place to point a finger is in the mirror. They also know that the way to change the status quo is to take some committed action to eliminate, alleviate, rectify, improve or reinvent situations that are not working ideally. They don’t wait for it to miraculously “evolve” on its own to something better. Leaders allow and even encourage the people around them to do the same. This reminds me of the saying, “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” Be the solution.

As life happens, I get to practice what I preach. Again. My landlord recently called to inform me that he is selling the house I live in with my daughter. My original intent was to live where I do until she graduates from high school, which isn’t until the summer of next year. Being someone who grew up on a farm, meaning moving wasn’t even on one’s radar screen, then living in my past home for over 20 years, the simple thought of physically moving is nauseating to me at best. In my world, this “inconvenience” falls into the understatement category. Yet, as in a Chinese dialect, the word symbol for “crisis” is the same as “opportunity”. As with the conversations with my mom, I can simply have my initial little Mount Vesuvius reaction, get over myself and figure it out, knowing that whatever solution I come up with is significantly better than “victim speak”.

We all play in the movies of our own lives. What some of us fail to understand is that we are the writers, directors, producers and actors/actresses. Whatever the circumstances are, have been or will be in our lives are a result of every single choice we have made (or not) or idea we have had up to this moment. There isn’t something “out there” that created our health, financial, relational or other status without our input at some level. What if your movie isn't a script you like anymore?  Change your mind, take some committed action, and change your life. Your inconveniences can lead to tremendous opportunities.

Genius, Dr. Seuss, in his book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” talks about the “Waiting Place” – where people are just waiting – whether for a Better Break or Another Chance, people are just waiting. Is that you? Will you find Opportunity in your Waiting Place? Will you deal with your Inconveniences there? Is the factor that “caused” an inconvenience in your life to “happen to you” going to some how fix itself without doing anything differently? Not likely. It’s up to you. Period. As living beings, we are no different than any other organic part of nature that experiences either growth or decay at any given time – not both. If something is not growing, it’s dying…there is no static state. Stagnation, inaction and waiting are counterintuitive to leaders. Growth, movement and being generative are magic keys to fulfillment, happiness and peace. When you have peace in your heart and life, all of us prosper. Whenever you step up as a leader in your own life, there is less victim mentality in our world as large. Thank you! To paraphrase this book again, “So…….you’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting…get on your way!”

In gratitude…


Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>