Be aware of the setbacks and have a plan because at the end of the day, whether you work for somebody you’re work for yourself, the buck always stops with you.
Life, business and everything is going to be a ride. And the only way to enjoy it is to see it as a ride take in the sights and sounds as you’re going over the Hills and just wait for it to stop, to unbuckle yourself, to look back and figure out what’s next. And there’s things that feel like they’re weighing my chest out and feel like the world is ending and it’s going to feel like there’s no option. But there always is. And somehow if I look back on my life, my business, my successes, but also my lessons where I’ve made lots of money, but also lost lots and lots of money and made business lessons and decisions that weren’t supportive or didn’t have the ideal circumstances or outcome, then all those feelings were there, but eventually they were gone. And when I look back and reflect, there were lessons aligned with them. And so what I wrote today was how do we plan and thrive through setbacks or potential setbacks? And one of the things that I became a fan of a couple of years ago was stoicism. Reading about stoicism and understanding stoicism and reading Marcus Aurelius and doing a lot of things and adopting certain takeaways into my life. I am not a big proponent of that as the way, or that’s the philosophy or that’s the belief system. What I’m a big proponent of is individually all of us becoming students and then taking things that work for us from those different things too, create our own original, unique way of living. And so one of the things that I have really been focusing on and falling in love with his patients and enjoying the ride.
And so in stoicism, they say momentum, or it’s a reminder that you’re going to die like that nothing is permanent and that we are on this path, but also to do an inventory of everything in our life and to not leave anything to chance, not leave anything unsaid, to not explore something to literally be like, Hey, this is it. And so what I’ve taken to adopt out of that is that no matter what happens from this point in my life, in an hour, from now a week from now a month from how I have no control over some circumstances, but I do have awareness that they’re going to come. nd that they’re going to happen and that things are inevitable. And the more aware I am of the entire field that I’m playing on, the better prepared I am.
So when you’re hit with a trigger, like my ad account got shut down, my business is ending, my employee quit. They’re seizing my assets that, we have the ability to stay in that moment without reacting to it. So we can become aware of our situation and choose how to respond. And so when I look back at. What I’ve survived through, them wanting to amputate my legs in 2005 to being in a wheelchair for 12 months and being told I’d never walk again to struggling with an eating disorder for most of my life, to being an addict with opiates, to, I’m attempting suicide and all of those things, what was surrounding those moments and looking back on them. Why I’ve always been here and been able to pick myself back up is I’ve always been really keen to do an inventory of what’s coming and what’s to happen. So I’m familiar with it and it never feels like I’m getting blindsided or punched in the face.
As an entrepreneur, I willingly give up safety and security in exchange for ambiguity. I give up a steady paycheck to then have to create my own. I give up the health insurance and benefits and retirement plan that might come from working on building somebody else’s vision to build my own and have to recreate it. And that means I also give up my clarity or my confidence to other people and I own it, which means that if I want safety, I have to create safety. If I want to plan, I have to create a plan. If I want to thrive through setbacks, I have to be aware of the setbacks and have a plan because at the end of the day, whether you work for somebody you’re work for yourself, the buck always stops with you.
4 ways to win
And so one of the ways to win and to thrive is to realize that in this situation I am knowingly and willingly living a life of ambiguity. I’m going to go out into the future and get really clear on what I want to exist. And then I’m going to come into the present and I’m in a build it every day until it becomes a reality, which also means that there is not this set roadmap. There is not this set measure. There is not this container that if it doesn’t work will be fall back upon, and that’s what it takes. And that’s the choice that I make every day. And so in that I think the most important step of all of this is understanding the field of the game that we’re choosing to play. And so for me, the first part of planning and thriving through setbacks is awareness. Because when I look at that and I understand that the nature of the field of the game that I’m playing is guaranteed. Setbacks are guaranteed resistance or roadblocks because there are lessons and there’s things that I’m bumping up against. And there is no perfection. There is no perfect plan except the one that we put into practice. And there is no certainty except the certainty in which I create. And so the way that I look at this is the more time I spend aware of myself in a relationship with myself, where I’m spending my time, the nature of where I spend my time, how I spend my time. I have a really clear, accurate picture of how to plan and mitigate setbacks. Personal development work and experience which I broke it down into four steps.
#1 Number one is everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. But this is my awareness game, everybody has this plan to go play this perfect sport or have this perfect boxing match or this perfect fight. But if you never plan to get punched in the face, and then it happens, you are off your game and you will lose. But if you know that there’s a chance that you get punched in the face, and there’s a chance that you get knocked down, then you have the ability to recover or have a plan or a fallback to mitigate that. And so here’s what I can tell you. I guarantee you, uncertainty is coming. I guarantee you resistance is coming. I guarantee you. I guarantee you that ambiguity will always exist. And the easiest way to mitigate it is being aware that it’s coming.
And so the first thing is understanding that you need to have a plan and you need to have a plan for every conceivable scenario. There’s a chance that your product works or doesn’t work. There’s a chance that hire works or doesn’t work. There is a chance that employee is going to embezzle money and steal from you. But there’s also a chance that employee is going to take your company to the next level and be the best culture forever. And no matter what you can’t guarantee, either outcome, you can just plan for whatever scenario comes to fruition. You have an action or a solution for, because that’s what we do as leaders.
And so step one for planning to win and thrive through setbacks is making sure that you have a plan and knowing that you’re going to get metaphorically punched in the mouth. But like no matter what. I can guarantee you that as long as I own an automobile, there’s a really good chance that I’m going to get a flat tire or it’s going to break down. And so if I get a flat tire, I’m not going to go slash the other three. I’m aware that I got a flat tire. I’m going to change it. And I’m going to move on because I have a plan. So step one. Is doing an inventory and knowing what situations might come and arise in any moment, whether you’re planning a holiday trip, whether you are getting ready to take two weeks off of work, whether you’re doing quarterly planning for your business or yearly planning, if you’re doing an event, if you’re doing a team culture thing, like no matter what, you have to look at the field that you’re playing your game on and do an inventory across the field of everything that could potentially happen. So step one is awareness doing an inventory. Call it what you want, putting out the fears, the uncertainty, the resistance onto the table. And understanding what game you’re playing, because that is a game.
#2 Step two is you have to practice the wedge. You have to practice being comfortable. Being uncomfortable. You have to practice sitting with this comfort. If you want to deepen your service, deepen your practice. And so one of the things that I do is I practice being in sitting. So if I get triggered today, like if something comes across my desk, like this is broken up, I literally look at him. I hear you. I’ll get back to you in a couple of days. Okay. And I put it in my calendar for 24 hours in the future to look at it and be like what’s the plan? What steps can I take? What, who do I have to call? But anything I do today, isn’t going to solve the problem. It’s probably going to make it worse. So what I’m doing is practicing that wedge. I’m still uncomfortable. I still have a little bit of anxiety about it, but I’ve acknowledged it. I’ll have time to process my emotions, to feel the emotions and to ride the roller coaster of them, which is a gift as a human being is to be able to ride the roller coaster of emotions because we modulate. And then when I come back to it, I will be clear because I have practiced sitting. And if I’ve paused and I come back, I don’t have an emotional attachment. I don’t have a knee jerk reaction. I’ll probably have a lot of clarity. The path will be simple. I’ll be able to have a healthy understanding of what I need to do or what can be done. And then I make an appropriate course of action based on that information and not my emotional response. And so I will be able to look at the situation as a set of ingredients for a recipe instead of a fire that I have to fight in the moment.
#3 Step number three is to ask yourself. And so what do you ask yourself? You look at the situation, you can look at what worked, what didn’t work and what will I do differently next time. Observe from a very high level without being emotionally attached to it, like just the ingredients on the field. And so I like to use ingredients and recipes as an analogy because they work everywhere in business. And so step three is to look at it as a measure of ingredients, process and result, which if you’re familiar with lean six Sigma, they call this the model, but you just look at it as ingredients. And then the process and then the result, and you ask yourself what worked, what didn’t work and what would I do differently. And then when you get the answers to all of those questions,
#4 Step four is you take those ingredients. You take the answers to those questions you solve for what you can, and then you plan for the rest and take action. And that’s the path and that will always be our path in every single thing that we do. And the way that I look at life is that awareness is the finish line. Because once you are aware, you have all the ingredients required to choose how to act. And so for me, when I think about planning to win and thriving through setbacks, it’s following those four steps over and over again, sometimes a hundred times a day, sometimes once a month, but in everything that we do to set ourselves up to win, to make sure our success is guaranteed as long as we trust the process.