Ask yourself this question: Who controls life events? Or better yet, who is doing the influencing of these events? How many times do situations present themselves and seem hopeless and thus resigned to whatever fate presents?
Resignation is insidious. Sometimes when ‘the chips are down’, deference of free-will and ability to take charge of the situation is employed. Typically, this will happen at a ‘failure moment’. For many, the failure is a fait accompli. It is time to accept the reality and finality and move on. But looking at the failure as not the end itself rather a means to an end, allows for a different perspective; Failure is just a speed bump to be traversed and not finality. In fact, failure might not be a bad thing in itself. Failure can spur us to be more innovative, better at what we do and possibly reach an even better solution than originally intended. The key is not to resign and/or give up when confronted with failure. After all, failure is an opportunity to be even better if our mindset is altered to accept it as an impetus for being better.
As a professional pilot, I meticulously pre-plan my flights including strong and continuous consideration and planning for the weather. Weather cannot be controlled, but reaction can, including choosing to divert or not fly in it at all. However, there are times that despite the planning, Mother Nature has her own little surprises. Regardless, as Pilot in Command (PIC), I must continue to safely fly the plane.
It is no different with life’s surprises. Sometimes, anticipation can help to pre-empt either the change itself or its impacts. Other times, the events themselves cannot be controlled, but reaction to them and consequential actions afterwards certainly can be controlled.
Changes are constant in our everyday lives. Some of them are (or can be) reasonably anticipated and perhaps even planned for. Others are sudden and/or involuntary. Either way, the only thing constant in life, is change. Planning and reacting to these changes is critical to personal success and realization of our goals.
It is too easy and convenient to simply blame others for our own lack of success. Society is blamed for all of our ills. Our government is blamed for their ineptness (even though it was us that elected them). Blame becomes constant and continuous but with all of the blaming and pointing fingers, ultimately control of our own destiny is ceded. Thus, the question remains, are we the influencer of life events or the ones being influenced by them? Unfortunately, the latter choice is prevalent in today’s world and management is no exception. At times, it seems that we are indeed living in the United States of Denial.
Denial is a powerful psychological weapon that is self-employed to keep away the truth. With apologies to Jack Nicholson (A Few Good Men), handling the truth is not our preference. It is easier to close our eyes, ears, and brains and pretend that whatever ails us is not our fault. And it is therefore acceptable to blame whatever culprit happens to be convenient. Our mentality is to see and believe whatever is our predisposition, regardless of the actual reality or the truth. However, the truth must be confronted. How else will there be improvement? How else will change be enacted if there is no concession that it is our problem to solve?
What happens when we hit that inevitable ‘bump in the road’? Our ‘airplanes’ must continue to be flown. When a pilot is on final approach for landing, he lines the plane up to land on the center line of the runway with no drift and pointed down the runway. If he encounters a strong crosswind and doesn’t take positive corrective action, the plane will drift in the direction the wind is blowing. The plane might not be pointing straight and on landing might actually go off the side of the runway, damaging the airplane and possibly resulting in injuries (or worse). By taking immediate corrective actions, such as slipping or even a go-around to land on a different runway or different airport, the pilot affirms his control of the situation and allows for a positive and safe outcome. Continuing forward without this affirmative control or resigning to ‘fate’ is simply not acceptable.
Our intended goals should not be setback by a strong crosswind, a bump in the road, or even severe turbulence. Immediate recognition of the situation and then corrective action to stay on-track is a must to continue pointed straight down the successful goal achievement runway. Positive results require being in command and staying in command.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Moe Glenner is the founder and CEO of PURELogistics, a leading consulting firm that specializes in change management, and a regular speaker at trade shows and industry events. Glenner earned his MBA at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification from Villanova University. In Selfish Altruism, Glenner explores the personal motives and emotions that can impact organizational change. Selfish Altruism ($13.95) is available at Amazon.