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Starting over

Spring Has Sprung!

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: kimubert

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.

— Maria Robinson

Spring has sprung… or at the very least is springing.  It’s a time of new birth and rebirth and the perfect time to get un-stuck and get started again.

There is an essential difference between a professional and an amateur.  When a professional makes a mistake, they know that they have to learn from their mistake so they can take the next opportunity when it shows up.  The amateur can choose to avoid putting themselves in the same position again.  They can give up.

The professional knows that they don’t get to run away.  They have to figure out – a solution for the mistake that they made.  They have to get back up on the bike and ride or risk never getting on the bike again.

We’ve had a tough time over the last few years.  As a society, all of our challenges seem to be ganging up on us at the same time.  Unemployment, Medicare, Social Security, problems seem to be coming at us from all directions.  And, we’re angry about it.  We thought that we’d be getting ready to retire in relative comfort and instead, we’re getting ready to work for a while longer to ensure that someday we can retire.

What Are We Doing?

When I’ve talked to Vietnam Vets, they’ve told me that the thing that was most disconcerting about being in the jungle was that even the ground under their feet was unsafe.  Each step could result in an explosion or a drop into a pit or being jerked up into the air or being bitten by a snake.

There are times in our lives when we think we know where we’re going, when the ground under our feet seems stable.  We’re moving forward and things are good.  Then, out of nowhere, things change.  Illness strikes.  Kids move back home.  Accidents happen.  The ground shifts and we don’t know how to get our footing again.

We get stuck.  Uncertainty has us in its grip and we’re not sure how to react.

They Always Knew This Would Happen

For the longest time, we thought that the depression generation was overreacting.  They counted their pennies at a time when we thought the penny should be eliminated because it wasn’t really worth anything.  They told us to “watch out” – things could change overnight.  They prepared for the next downturn.

We were having a great time.  Money was loose.  We could borrow easily.  Businesses were hiring.  We were spending, which kept the merry-go-round circling.  All of the sudden, things changed.  Credit was cut.  People stopped spending and businesses were laying off, not hiring.  The ground had shifted.  We weren’t prepared.

The ground had shifted before.  As Mark Twain said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”  Things don’t stay exactly the same, but they follow patterns.  After the boom, comes the bust… and then the next boom followed by the next bust – over and over again.  But, as a species, we have an imperfect memory.  We focus on the good times.

We’ve been here before.  When I first got married, I started out counting pennies to keep us with enough food and gas to survive and go to work.  I don’t want to go back to those times again.

Get Back Up on the Bike and RIDE!

The difference between a professional and an amateur is that the professional learns from their mistakes.  Notice, I didn’t say that they don’t make mistakes.  They learn from them.  They look forward to their next opportunity.  And that’s what we must do now.

We’ve been stuck.  We’ve talked about how we got here.  The relevant question is where do we go from here?

There are new opportunities out there.  With all the uncertainty, did you stop setting goals?  Now is the time to set some new goals.  Notice what things have changed and how they’ve affected you.  Then pick a direction.

Things seem to be getting better.  Are you positioned to take advantage of the changed environment?  If not, what do you need to do?

There are some things that you can’t change.  There are things you can change.

I had a friend who got laid off.  The first thing that he did was take control of himself.  He stopped drinking.  He stopped smoking. He started running.  By taking control of his habits, he developed enough self-confidence and self-discipline to know that he could handle the yucky job of looking for a job – and he did.

There is a huge difference between just driving around and driving to a destination.  For some of us, we’ve just kept moving, hoping not to become a target.  It’s time to choose a destination.  It’s time to create hope by making a plan.  It’s time to take action.

It’s time for re-birth.  It’s Spring.

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