A friend shared with me how he felt like every part of his business was falling apart. What once had been a thriving endeavor had seemingly turned into a dead end. His client base was drying up, the leads were almost non-existent, and he wasn’t even sure he had it in him to continue to press on down the same path.
Those are always hard conversations. I never really know what to say. I want to help, but it’s hard to make sense of anything when you’re right in the middle of the chaos. When what was once something that brought you a lot of joy becomes the source of your pain, you begin to wonder what went wrong.
A TOUGH PLACE TO BE
I’ve been there. We’ve all been there. And there are no easy answers.
We talked for a bit. I did my best to encourage him and offer him some ideas to consider. I even made a few phone calls later in the day to see if I could connect him with a few people I thought might benefit from his services. Unfortunately, nothing came of that effort.
A few months later, I received a text message saying that he wanted to talk. It sounded urgent. I just happened to have a few minutes before catching a flight, so I immediately called him back. I didn't know what to expect, but I was hoping he had some good news to share.
He explained he had hit rock bottom right after we met. He was sitting in his home wondering what his next move would be when the phone rang. It was a prospect he had been working for months. He had a random conversation with a connection in a different industry who was looking for someone to do the kind of work they had discussed.
Over the next few months, he picked up new client after new client. He discovered there was a whole new client base that needed his services. It never occurred to him to consider this other business space before. And to top it all, business was so good he was in a position to start hiring back some of the people he had to let go just a few months earlier.
I couldn't have been happier for my friend. We agreed to meet again. And this time he promised to pick up the tab.
As I got on the plane, I realized what had just happened. My friend only saw the setback at first. What he didn’t realize at the time was that his setback was really a set-up for something bigger and better just ahead.
When life doesn’t quite work out as you had planned, look for the pivot. It’s coming. What you think is going to bring you down for good is helping you refine your motivation and intentions. Rarely does that happen in the good times; it almost always happens in the tough times.
What I’ve learned is clarity is your greatest asset in life. Too many things are changing and shifting at such a rapid pace that predictable is no longer something you can (or should) aspire to achieve. Instead, strive for clarity. It will be your anchor in the storm and keep you from drifting along and wasting precious time.
When life throws you a curveball that results in a setback, anticipate a set-up is coming your way. Get ready because something big is about to happen.