At one of Alex Mandossian’s Teleseminar Secrets Reunions, we did a “timeline” exercise. Alex started it by charting his highlights and lowlights from the past 20 years. It was fascinating to see this laid out for us and to know even someone like Alex was in the abyss at a couple of points.
Even more importantly, I learned 2 important takeaways I wanted to share with you.
The first came from one of the participants. He remarked that the timeline exercise really put things in perspective. These were simply events, not good or bad. They were neutral. Whether you’re in bankruptcy or just broke the 7-figure mark, it’s just an event. A fact.
It’s the story around it that turns it into something else. The story is where the emotions come in. And that’s where it gets messy.
The event isn’t the problem. The story is. If you can take the story out of what’s going on, you can look at what’s happening more objectively and objectively make a decision about how you’re going to handle it.
You may have heard the quote that life is about 10 percent what happens to you and about 90 percent your reaction to what’s happened to you. In other words, the event is in the 10 percent — your story is in the 90 percent.
Bad things happen to everyone. The vast majority of successful entrepreneurs I know were either in debt up to their eyeballs or actually declared bankruptcy at some point. In fact, I can’t think of a single successful business person who didn’t lose a significant amount of money at some time in their life — whether from a poor business decision, a bad investment, the market changing or a product that completely flopped. That’s just the way it is.
But, the successful business person picked themselves up and went back to work. They didn’t lay in the gutter and moan about their bad luck. (Well, maybe they did, but it didn’t last too long.) They mostly focused on what they were going to do next to recover.
The unsuccessful business person is the one who allows failure to stop them. The unsuccessful business person is the one who gets so sucked up in the story around the failure they don’t get around to picking themselves back up and trying the next thing.
The second takeaway I learned was about the pattern. Alex’s timeline (as those of people who shared) looked like a sine wave. It went up then it went down then it went up then it went down and it went up, etc.
And that’s what life is like. You’re up and you’re down. You can’t enjoy the ups without the downs. And you don’t stay down because you’ll end up going back up.
So, where are you in your timeline? Are you on a high? That’s fantastic — enjoy it. Eventually it will go down but don’t focus on that, focus on enjoying being on top. Are you on a low? Well, celebrate that as well, because that means you’re on your way up.
Even if you’re on the way down, still celebrate, because you know you’ll eventually hit the bottom and come back up. And life will be all the better because you just came out of the down.
Take the time to do this exercise for yourself. Chart out your most important milestones over the past 10 or 20 years. And take time to celebrate where you’ve been and how far you’ve come. And don’t forget to celebrate wherever you are right now.
© Copyright 2011 Michele Pariza Wacek (Michele PW)