You’re flying tomorrow. And as you get into bed you check your itinerary one last time.
Your flight’s at 8:30am. This will get you to Portland with 3 hours to spare before you have to be at the first networking event before your keynote in the evening.
Next morning, you wake up and look at the clock.
Holy hell! You overslept by 35 minutes! (You turned down the volume on your cell phone yesterday – and didn’t hear the alarm this morning. Crap!)
You fly through your morning rounds, rushing out the door with no time to shower. Your heart races as you weave through traffic.
You’ve got a digital boarding pass and no luggage to check – so you rush right to the gate. You huff and puff your way through the terminals and make it just as the door closes.
The attendant gives you one of those looks that says she’s going to enjoy not letting you on the plane. You argue with her briefly. But it’s clear she wants your speaking career to fail. She didn’t like you from the minute you rounded the corner.
You’ve missed your plane.
We now interrupt this story to give you two alternate endings to this circumstance.
Because I want you to consider how you interpret each and every situation in your life and your business. Watch carefully here.
You want to cry. You start beating yourself up.
As you wait in line to get another flight, the self-judgments pile up. Words like “never” and “always” take the lead. Add to that the occasional derision from God, Jesus, Buddha, and any other number of deities and angels.
You get a flight on another airline. It’ll get you in to Portland in time for your talk – but you’ll miss the networking event. You are stressed and frustrated, worried about how this is going to affect the energy of your talk.
You want to cry. You start beating yourself up.
As you wait in line to get another flight, the guy behind you asks you if you, too, missed that flight to Portland.
You tell him yes.
He says, “Me too! Traffic was awful! But did you hear? Our plane had a maintenance issue out on the runway – and they’re now grounded for like four hours because they can’t get the part they need and the door won’t open or something. My business partner is on there and he just texted me! Now, I’ll land in Portland before he will!”
**Brief Pause for a Deep Breath**
So…how’s your translation doing now, huh?
Looks like God thinks you’re pretty freakin’ special!
In fact, I’ll bet you think the universe started aligning yesterday, making sure you turned your cell phone volume down just so you WOULDN’T be on the plane with weird maintenance issues that grounded it for 4 hours!
And okay, yeah. I get it. In most of our circumstances, this convenient level of tidy knowledge doesn’t usually happen.
But it’s interesting to note that, in this scenario, NOTHING in your circumstances actually shifted.
The only thing that shifted was your perception of them, the meaning you gave to them.
“Well, at least I’m not on my original plane,” now makes the day a little lighter and a little more do-able.
Your waking up late is no longer a matter of self-flagellation. It’s a matter of self-congratulation.
Why does this matter?
Because – and this is really important – the only meaning that matters is the one you choose to give your circumstance.
Past-Based Meaning vs Future-Based Meaning
I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that will not work.”-Thomas Edison
If you look at the two alternative endings in your airplane story, you’ll see something telling.
The first ending or translation, (or the first WHY), of that circumstance comes straight out of your past. It’s all the translations based on the beliefs and stories you’ve accumulated over your life. Plus, it’s stories of the recent past… the cell phone volume, the traffic, etc.
But if you look at ending #2, the translation – the WHY – is all about the future. You were meant to be pulled from that plane, and you were meant to be the keynote speaker that night. There’s no need to worry because it’s all calling you to the right end.
You have literally made the future the CAUSE of your current challenges.
This is what people do when they’re grateful for all the bad stuff they’ve endured in order to get what they have now. They’ve made the future become the cause of the original hardship.
We become great purveyors of “MEANING” when some time has passed and we are able to pull meaning from the circumstances we go through. From our future.
So why not do that before the future happens?
Why not see clearly – right now – how your very soul is “circumstance-ing” you into your required expansion?
Why not recognize that every single circumstance is actually shaping you and creating the outcomes you intended at the start of this year?
What if everything that’s happening to you is a gift that’s showing you the stuff that needs to be removed, re-shaped and realigned as you steadily move toward your goals and intentions?
This is not positive thinking, by the way.
This is recognizing that you have the ability to create any meaning you want for any situation in your business or your life.
It makes the getting there much more powerful, don’t you think?