Real life magic

Coming Soon! The very first Blossie@work book!

“Hey, I’m not totally perfect,” my friend Gia likes to say. “I’ve got this little chip in my tooth right here.”

LOL, but seriously, aren’t we all a little like this: always pushing ourselves, expecting perfection? And when we don’t get it (it’s easy to find a tiny “chip” in even our greatest victories), we’re so busy stressing over the small imperfection that we forget to celebrate the success.

Or we think that ignoring our successes and sprinting ahead to the next challenge makes us more “serious” about our goals.

Or we’re too worried about losing our edge to stop and give ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back.

Or we just don’t want to let ourselves believe we’re “good enough.”

So what ends up happening?

We literally blow right past our successes! But our failures? Those we put under a microscope because we’re sure we can learn something from them. We zero-in on them, stress about them, read articles on how to fix them and maybe books on how to avoid repeating them.

Beautiful someone, this is so backwards! 

What if…

Because, think about it: it’s our successes — not our failures — that tell us when we’re at our best, our strongest, our smartest, our most resourceful. What if we put our successes under a microscope instead, and started studying the who, what, when, where, why, and how of when we accomplish the most?

We could ask ourselves things like:

  • “What did I do this time that really worked?”
  • “Why did it work?”
  • “Who helped me?”
  • “How can I have more successes like this in my life?”
  • “What does this success tell me about my strengths?

It’s like the easiest real life magic trick: when we have answers to these amazing questions — when we know when and how we are at our very best — we can recreate these conditions, expect success, and get it.

Imagine

So imagine if, next time we had a victory in our lives (we completed a big project, reached a three-year goal, conquered a fear of public speaking, hit an “impossible” health target…), we stopped — not just to celebrate, but to brainstorm the who, what, when, where, why, and how we’re at our very best?

Think of the inspiration we’d get from our answers!

Great experiences don’t always feel great

Yes Changes Everything!January 15, 2009

Shortly after takeoff, US Airways Flight 1549 loses power in both engines. In what aviators call a “bird strike,” a flock of geese flying straight into the plane’s propellers has disabled them instantly.

In the cockpit, Captain Sully Sullenberger quickly realizes it would be impossible to reach any airport, meaning a crash landing is his only option. Drawing on 42 years of aviation experience, he steers the plane — a giant jetliner called and Airbus — into the Hudson River, gliding to a safe landing that spares the lives of 155 passengers and crew members.

Afterward, Sully remembered the moment when it felt like all was lost, how having “zero thrust coming out of those engines was shocking — the silence.”

More recently, Sully said about that day: “For 42 years, I’d been making small, regular deposits in a bank account of experience, education, and training. And on January 15, the balance was sufficient that I could make a very large withdrawal.”

“I realized,” he said, “that everything in my life up until then had prepared me for that moment.”

And he meant everything: his family, schooling, experience as a glider pilot and instructor, military service, civil service…everything.

A big waste of time?

I spent years as a communications consultant to large corporations, supporting my kids and my employees.

That whole time, the idea for Blossie’s Books was alive and kicking in every cell of my body. But no matter how I felt, I had to keep being the “corporate tiger.” Too many people were depending on me. No way I could stop consulting to write books.

Beautiful someone, until I listened to that interview with Sully, honestly, I’d often slip into regret (maybe even a little self-pity 😊) for the years I spent serving the corporate world.

Maybe it was all a big waste of time?

We can all do this — spend time regretting our past, something I can relate to not only on a work level, but on a personal level too, having lived through the enormous pain of infidelity and divorce.

But what Sully said kind of makes that impossible…

“I realized that everything in my life up until then had prepared me for that moment.”

Nothing is wasted

Most of us will never experience a moment like Flight 1549, but there’s a bigger message here: the idea that for any given moment, our past, our experiences (good and bad), our histories and skills, have prepared us.

Nothing is ever wasted.

So now I can look at my past through a new lens:

My corporate experience (as unhappy as it was) gave me insights into the pressures employees are under so I can write books about good ways to handle those pressures.

Years as a consultant enabled me to understand the pressures of entrepreneurship and the challenges of being a good manager. They made me a better communicator — or at least one who tries harder!

Infidelity and living through a painful divorce gave me a level of empathy for people going through the agony of rejection. (It also made me fiercely loyal in my relationships because I know what betrayal feels like.)

Good questions

Looking through this new lens, we can all make a list like this. Some questions to help:

  • “What were some of the tough experiences from my past?”
  • “How have these experiences made me a stronger person? How have they made me smarter?”
  • “Who do I have more empathy for because of these experiences?”

In the end, beautiful someone, I’ve realized, my heart to yours: Not every great experience feels great while it’s happening to us. But they’re all important to becoming who we’re meant to be.