Keep Calm and Ever Onward

Happy teen girl  jumping on the beach
The other day I received an email from my very wise friend LaDonna. She stated she owns a ring she wears daily inscribed with the words “siempre adelante,” which means always forward. The ring reminds my friend to “accept life’s inevitable disappointments and changes.” This is a lesson worth remembering. Immediately I created a “siempre adelante” sign and hung it on my vision board.

LaDonna’s communication contained two important concepts. First, being cognizant of the fact that from time to time trouble is going to waltz through our lives totally uninvited. Life excels at keeping us on our toes. We get comfortable cruising along experiencing smooth sailing,
woman staying on sailboat
and then a totally unexpected event occurs to churn the still waters. You know the drill. Disappointment, stress and even a bit of panic might occur when the wind blows our sails in the wrong direction. It’s normal to feel deflated like a rapidly leaking lifeboat. But then what?

My advice begins with not burying your head in the sand. Spending time in denial is futile. There is a quote attributed to Elvis Presley putting setbacks in perspective. “Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t going way.” Accept the reality of the situation. The fact is, it happened, it’s real and it requires a solution. Own it.

Here’s another scenario to avoid. Do not let your emotions rule. Wallowing in anger and worry serves only to zap your energy reserves. Spending time doing the “poor me” moan to anyone with a listening ear is time wasted. Whatever it is, a speeding ticket, a broken relationship, a job loss, or a bad investment, take action and attack the problem. Need help on where to begin? Try rewinding a bit, and take comfort in the past. Surely you have faced downturns before and found a way to soldier on. Once you have regained your confidence, get focused and tap into your creativity. Start brainstorming a way to get back in the game.

Siempre adelante is the second concept in the equation. Engage in some positive thinking. Just as you can rewind to past achievements you can fast-forward to brighter times. Take a breath and imagine your relief when you’ve solved the problem. Next, build up some momentum by putting one foot in front of the other and work your action plan. Where will that take you? In the right direction, onwards, ever onwards!

Turning a Wish into Reality

The little girl on a lawn with a puppy in the sunny day

A particular television commercial fills me with delight. Perhaps you have seen it. An adorable little girl declares she would like a “chango machine” so she can turn her little brother into a puppy. Thank heavens I never got my hands on that magic machine growing up! My poor baby brother would have been a soft furry canine before you could pronounce “presto chango.”

As refreshing as it is to imagine instant change, we know changing course takes time and effort. But just for a moment, imagine you were granted one wish. Visualize stepping into the chango machine and then out again. What one thing is different? Did you find yourself in the corner office, or married to the woman of your dreams? Perhaps you now live in Hawaii, or you reappeared as an executive chef working at a trendy five-star restaurant.

What occurred in your fantasy machine you can duplicate in real life. You need no secret formula to accomplish the change you want most. It just takes planning, focus and a dose of grit as evidence by the story of a young college graduate named Ken Ilqunas.

Finding himself deep in debt upon graduating from the University of Buffalo, Ken moved to Alaska to secure employment and pay off his $32,000 college loan. With dedicated hard work he paid back every dime in two years. Determined never to pile up debt again, this enterprising fellow sought a master’s degree. Staying true to his vow, Ken creatively invented a way to live in his van while attending grad school at Duke University. Wow!

Not all of us have Ken’s super-sized moxie, but his inspiring story provides the impetus to move forward. Whatever it is standing between you and the goal line, I doubt it means working at a remote Alaskan truck stop or living in your van.

Now that you have a clear vision of that one thing in your life requiring change, commit to facilitating action. Draw up a plan and stay the course. Big leaps are made of many tiny steps. If you start today the time will arrive when, like Ken, you can take a bow and reap the benefits.