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I use this forum to discuss things that can help you make a great living and live a great life ®. Typically these things involve business and leadership strategy and/or a marketing tactic.
This is not one of those occasions.
A few times each year, like the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States or a date that has importance only to me, I express the emotion I feel. I do this because we have that kind of relationship.
This is typically a time of year when we express gratitude.
We take stock of the blessings we have received and we pause and reflect. We acknowledge the richness in our lives and appropriately recognize the grace bestowed upon us.
This year I have a renewed sense of gratitude for something I have failed to recognize.
I, like most people, underestimate the value of experience.
Many times when we capitalize on business opportunities we do so because we have had a similar opportunity in the past, and, for whatever reason, we botched it up so badly that our emotional and intellectual synapses have been permanently wired not to make the same mistake again. This means, when given the second chance, we succeed.
My career, in fact, my life, is the sum total of capitalizing on second chances.
Time after time, I have bumbled and stumbled my way into one mess after another making painful and costly mistakes that would later prove to be profound life lessons.
These lessons provide me with the emotional intelligence to succeed when placed in that same situation a second time.
I stumbled to the brink of financial disaster while starting my own business and learned how to better manage cash flow and cash reserves.
A disastrous first marriage and the associated emotional fallout from it, have helped me become a better husband and friend to the love of my life.
A false start with a career as, of all things, a chef, which lead to learning how to (literally) deal with the heat and stay in the kitchen even while the rest of my work environment was “boiling over.”
But most importantly, I am thankful that my eyes are open and I recognize these events for the wonderful opportunities they are.
It is easy to think of life events as challenges.
It is emotionally safe to curse the pain of the moment and feel sorry for the predicament we find ourselves in.
My gratitude this year centers around the opportunity to take the lessons learned in those challenging moments and apply them to current circumstances.
Everyone deserves a second chance.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to apply the knowledge and emotional intelligence gleaned from a challenging or difficult or painful past experience to the events in his/her life today.
Everyone deserves to have wonderful people in their lives who recognize the value in others enough to reach out and extend a second chance to them…whether a blood relative or just a person with the common bond of being human.
I have no doubt I will make new mistakes in my life. Some big. Some small.
I have no doubt they will be painful.
But I know that with this pain comes emotional intelligence and, someday, if offered the opportunity, I will apply the lessons I learn from those situations to a new opportunity. And the richness that will come from the application of that intelligence will help me and those around me.
I am grateful for the dozens and dozens of second chances I have been granted over the years. I try my best to humbly approach these opportunities with the knowledge gained from experience.
I’m honored you have chosen to invest your time and attention in me.
Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.