“Everything works out for the best.”
“If it’s meant to be, it will happen.”
Have you ever uttered these words? While many people believe at some level that “things happen for a reason,” they act as though they don’t trust the idea. If it really is true that that everything works out for the best, then every situation is perfect in some way.
Here’s an example.
Zach, an attorney, discovered this when he learned his business partner, Kareem, was leaving the practice. Zach and Kareem had built a business from scratch; he thought growing it big was what they both wanted. But people change. Kareem changed. He didn’t want a business anymore. He didn’t want the headache and the pressure. Now he just wanted to join a bigger firm, not build one.
Zach was determined to talk him out of it. He tried everything to help Kareem see the possibilities, and he tried to see every possibility for himself. But Kareem’s answer was no. He had decided. He was leaving.
After the emotions subsided (anger, resentment, denial, and determination), Zach took the practice over by himself.
“Well, at least one positive thing came out of this,” Zach thought as he signed the documents. “Now I get to be president.”
But Zach got to be a lot more than that. As he started to shoulder the practice on his own, he became more confident as a businessman. He took the practice in his own direction. He made bold decisions, branched out and hired more attorneys. The business grew, as did his reputation and profits. Best of all, he maintained a friendship with Kareem, who stayed in his corner – no longer employed by the business but still rooting for its success.
Zach didn’t know when Kareem said “no” to the business that the business was saying “yes” to Zach. A situation that at first seems to be a disaster can actually turn out to be perfect.
Looking for the perfect is especially helpful when you get an untimely surprise.
- Benjamin got the promotion he wanted a year before he felt ready.
- Enrique was awarded a giant contract the same year he was planning to retire.
- Martina, the next-in-line for a public office, had to step into the job when an elected official had to step down for personal reasons.
- Neal found out that after years of family planning, he and his wife were about to have not one, not two, but three babies.
In each of these situations, leaders were able to reframe a situation that initially felt wrong by believing it must have to be right. They looked for the perfect.
Believing life might be perfect as it is doesn’t mean you play a passive role in your life. You are still leading your life; you are still becoming the leader you want to be and creating your vision. But you’re doing so with an open mind, realizing that for reasons we don’t understand, some things might be “right” for us that we wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves. Other things might be “wrong” for us even if we thought they were right.
Sometimes we find the opportunities we’re looking for, but other times those opportunities find us.
- Recall a time in your life when you got a “no” or “yes” that you weren’t expecting – maybe unanticipated (good or bad) news or a surprising change in direction.
- How did the situation work out?
- In hindsight, what was perfect?
The ideas in this article are drawn from The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership and the accompanying eBook called The Extension. The eBook is designed to give you simple, engaging personal leadership exercises and activities to help you be a better leader, and lead a better life. Get your copy today! Click here for a Preview and to Order.