What Happens When You Can’t Start Over?
Many of you know me as a life coach and business coach, but I also do a lot of training.
We conducted some presentation skills training recently with 14 senior executives at a well-known tech firm.
Great folks, and it went extremely well.
Part of what made it a good training was they’d done a good job of familiarizing themselves with their material ahead of time.
But there were still some stumbles out of the gate … as there always are.
After all, we had them on camera. They were nervous.
And people want to get it just right. They want to be perfect. And so, a couple of folks stopped speaking and asked if they could start all over again.
But in an actual presentation, you don’t get to start again. You have to make the best of it when things go awry.
And if that isn’t a metaphor for life, I don’t know what is.
How many times have you longed for a do-over … a mulligan?
In life, there are no do-overs. There are no mulligans. Okay, maybe a few now and then, but you get the point.
You have to “play it as it lies.”
My partner, Tom, was a pretty good golfer when he was kid, hovering between a two and a six handicap.
He tells the story that one day he started out two under par after the first two holes, giving him hope he could record a special round.
He then proceeded to pull his drive hard left into dense woods off the third tee. Hopes dashed, he picked up the ball and walked back to the first tee to start over fresh.
Fine, you can do that, but that’s not golf.
You can’t do that anymore than you can play at marriage and pick a new spouse whenever the one you have appears, from time to time, to be less than perfect.
You can’t do that anymore than you can unmake the decision to buy a stock that turned out to be a dog and pick a different stock.
And you can’t do that anymore than you can blithely walk away from the consequences of your actions in life.
You have to play it as it lies.
Now, you might say, “Well, duh. Tell me something I don’t know.”
Okay, but here’s why I’m talking about this.
When you approach less-than-ideal circumstances in life with the attitude that it shouldn’t be this way … that life is unfair … and you’re wishing you could start over again … you drain yourself of the power to deal constructively with the problems you encounter.
You don’t develop the “muscle” you need to stick to it and come out the other side in a better, more satisfying place. You default to complaining and looking for an easy out.
Growth doesn’t happen by looking for a get out of jail free card.
It happens when you’re able to face up to difficulties and the absence of perfection and keep going. It comes from doing your best to improve the situation.
The best professional golfers have the ability to screw up big time and come back to reel off birdie after birdie. They know it’s all about what’s next.
Did Tom learn the lesson? Yes, that very day. The symbolism of literally walking away from one’s troubles in search of a new start was so powerful, even to a teenager, that he got it.
And, he’ll tell you he continues to re-learn that lesson on a regular basis.
Because, let’s face it. We all want things to go our way, and when they don’t, we get unhappy and wish things could be different.
Nothing unusual or wrong about that.
It’s just not helpful.
It’s not the place from which great comebacks happen.
Those who are most successful in life learn to accept, let go, and move on … quickly.
So, I have to ask … how quickly are you able to accept, let go, and move on?
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