While traveling in Europe to attend an André Rieu concert, my laptop’s hard drive went down. If you have ever been unable to access any of your data, you know it can be, well, disconcerting. I Googled computer repair technicians in the small Holland city where I was staying, and found two technicians with good reviews. I decided the first was the guy for me, and phoned him. It was Saturday, and although Google said his shop was open, it wasn’t.
While Dee and I were waiting to be served in a restaurant, I picked up an Etch-a-Sketch-like toy on a rack near our table, a plaything designed to keep little kids entertained while waiting for food. Curious, I began to write on the screen and tinker with the dials. I discovered a large knob that turned like a dial and moved in a slot horizontally back and forth across the bottom of the device. “What does that dial do?” Dee asked.
When my coaching client Lana was a small baby, her parents divorced and she never saw her father again. For much of her life, she felt sad because she was fatherless. As an adult, Lana became a life coach and wanted to set up a studio and a business, but she did not have the funds. Then she received a surprise letter informing her that her father had died and left her a substantial inheritance—enough to start her coaching business and a lot more.
On Facebook I glanced at the trending news including the horrid account of how a man was dragged bleeding off a United Airlines aircraft when he refused to voluntarily give up his seat to a crew member en route to another flight. You know the gory details. Tens of millions of people have posted and tweeted about it, nearly all aghast that the airline would resort to violent assault on a paying passenger.
Some friends of mine decided to sell their house, and found a buyer. On the day before the sale was to close, they walked into their living room to find a wall covered with carpenter ants. The couple had never seen such ants in the house before, and had no idea where they came from. In integrity, they disclosed the discovery to the buyer, who cancelled the sale. At that point my friends realized they did not really want to sell the house, and they kept it. The next day the ants disappeared and they never saw them again. That was 20 years ago. They are still living in the house and loving it.
Every February, in honor of Valentine’s day, I explore loving relationships. Many of us have faced challenges in relationships, and we struggle with how to create truly rewarding connections. We search for our soulmate, wrestle with friendships, and dread going home to see our relatives. At some point it dawns on us that “this cannot be the way I was born to live.” Then we get serious about creating relationships that work. If we are sincere, that will happen.
A real estate agent sent me a copy of the glamorous magazine, Luxury Homes. As I flipped through the pages I beheld lavish sprawling estates perched on hilltops and oceanfronts with spectacular Balinese furnishings and stunning sunset views. The price tags went up to $16 million. One home in particular caught my eye—not for the house, but for its tag line: In this elegant estate, all of your needs will be met.
One of the ways I like to make the end of a year work on my behalf is to assess how the past year has redirected me. It’s tempting to look back on the year and regret errors I made or things that seemed to not work out. But failure and regret exist only at the shallowest level of appearances. What seems to be a dead end sign is an arrow pointing you in another direction. The universe is saying, “This is not it. There is a better direction for you. Go that way and you will find what you are looking for.” No movement in life is wasted. It all has a purpose. You just have to know how to read the signs.
Meryl Streep is considered by many to be the world’s greatest living actress. To date she has garnered 306 Best or Supporting Actress nominations and 158 wins, including three Academy Awards and eight Golden Globes. Her first Oscar came in 1979 for her Best Supporting Actress role in Kramer vs. Kramer. During the awards ceremony Streep went to the ladies’ room and forgetfully left the coveted gold statue on the toilet seat. For her, acting was the real gold. The trophy it led to was an afterthought.
A young entrepreneur came to me complaining that she was having trouble completing the text for her website. “Where is the roadblock you are hitting?” I asked Barbara.
“It’s the About Me page,” she answered with a contorted face that told me how painful this process was for her. This is the page that most entrepreneurs get hung up on, the very one I have had countless coaching sessions to help clients get posted.
“Do you have any doubts about presenting yourself to the world?” “Well, yes. . .” she answered sheepishly. “I question if I am really qualified and if I am worth people paying me for my services.”