This past Saturday night, I was out shopping for furniture trying to accomplish that goal of ‘a perfect night’s sleep’, when I heard a familiar sound around the corner. There they were. A gathering of sales staff watching the closing moments of what may be the greatest college football finish ever. Alabama attempts to kick a last second field goal to break the tie and continue on to another National Championship. After all, the number one team is supposed to make the final play to preserve the tough win, right? Not this time. The field goal falls short and it returned by an Auburn player all the way for a touchdown. What an incredible finish. ‘That’s why they play the game”, (Sorry, couldn’t help but throw in another cliché). Now it’s Monday morning, and let’s see where we can go with this.
I sometimes consider myself an optimistic pragmatist. I might define this as not afraid to examine the facts, but maintaining hopefulness for a positive outcome. I am often perplexed as to why some assume defeat, even though every opportunity has been exhausted. Maybe it is a fear of disappointment. I guess I have seen enough last minute ‘miracles’ off the field to convince me anything can happen (and just might). This is where I could go into a list of battles that were won because a leader refused to yield, but for lack of time and space I will move on.
A crucial key is never quit playing (fighting, praying, selling, pick any term you wish here). Know the score, but know the possibilities. An important point is that it really doesn’t matter what you did in the first, second, or third quarter. It matters what you do now when the ‘game’ is on the line. Too often we try to assemble a barrage of short sprints in life that look good. That is why I am always cautious about ‘superstar’ recruiting. Major highlights on a resume are great. But, is there evidence of sustainability? Can the individual still fly when facing adversity? Often times, I listen to the stories of past success, and with admiration I might add. The game however, is always changing. Life never remains predictable. Keep the door open for an opportunity.
Another important fact is, never assume what you did yesterday will work today. It has been said that insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Consider variables. Today’s world dictates we constantly morph has we perceive the battlefield. Culture has changed, and we must as well. It has been said the only place you won’t find change is when it is owed to you from a vending machine. Today’s outcome, is contingent upon today’s investment of one’s self.
Don’t assume the outcome, or how it will happen. ‘Expect the unexpected’. Try as we might, we are not all knowing. Speculation is a game everyone engages in. But, the future is not fact until it is the past. By all means we must prepare with plans and contingencies. But, a little wiggle room for the unlike miraculous finish can often keep our outlook more positive.
Finally, consider this famous quote from Thomas Jefferson,
“I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it”
It is said that the best ‘luck’ belongs to those prepared to seize a moment or opportunity. Always be prepared for your break (or breakthrough). Always be prepared for that moment when the victory belongs to the diligent.
Never stop applying yourself, make changes when necessary, never assume defeat, and position yourself for ‘that moment’.
Happy Monday! Enjoy the week.
written by James Anderson
Consultant, Expecting More