Success does leave clues if we are patient enough to look for them. Sometimes they are hidden in small creative places and other times they are surprisingly right in front of our nose.
This previous weekend, I went to the lake with my family. While we were all out on the boat together, I decided to go skiing. As I began pulling out all the ski equipment, I realized we had the ski’s and ski rope but unfortunately no ski rope handle. Frustrated, I looked all over the boat to find a spare handle or at least something I could use as an alternate. Without a handle, I would have nothing to hold onto. Therefore, no skiing.
Everyone in my family had the same reaction, each in their own way, “Guess you have to wait until next time Kevin.”
I love my family, but I’m a ‘yeahsayer’ not a ‘naysayer.’
I pulled the boat closer to shore and quickly anchored.
“What are you doing?” they all asked me.
“I’m going to go get a rope handle,” I said.
“What are you talking about?” my sister kept asking.
I said, “You’ll see,” as I dove into the lake and started swimming to shore.
About 100 feet later, I was walking around the shoreline looking for pieces of wood that would substitute for a ski rope handle. Finally, I found one of perfect diameter but it was about two feet too long. I grabbed the piece of wood anyways and slammed it against another log, breaking it in half.
“There we go,” I said. “Perfect. A brand new ski rope handle.” I then swam back to the boat with one arm holding the new log handle. This all took maybe ten minutes.
When I got back onto the boat, my sister said, “You’re crazy.”
Still catching my breath, I replied, “Good. Because now I can ski.”
What was most powerful about what had happened was not what I said during those few moments. But rather, it was simply what I did. I didn’t need to explain the concept
of ‘perseverance’ or ‘think outside the box’ to anyone. I just wanted to ski.
However, as have reflected on this incident, I did hope they were paying attention to the unspoken lesson being demonstrated to them. Whereas many people might accept certain conditions in life, I do my best to create the circumstances I want. If you have read previous columns I have written this year, you’ll know that all my content is based on specific leadership topics to help people think differently to achieve success.
Well, this month’s topic is most relative because it involves taking action to create the circumstances you want. Successful people, however you may define success, have a tendency to create ideal circumstances consistently. In fact, they expect to have to work hard to be successful and they learn from setbacks and failure more than anyone. The clue to their success is in their resiliency, adaptability, and vision to achieve a goal despite any setback or frustration. They view “Setbacks as Set Up’s!”
While I was skiing with that obnoxiously awkward log as a ski handle, I saw my two nephews staring at me. One of them was actually laughing at me holding the log, pointing one hand toward me and the other covering his mouth in laughter. For me though, I hoped he would realize the deeper lesson being taught that day which is if something goes wrong or if he doesn’t have something he needs, then all he needs to do is improvise. He just needs to find a way to make it happen.
“If we desire strongly enough, we’ll keep looking until we find it.”
If you are a parent, read this next quote closely a few times:
“Children may not pay attention to what you say, but they sure will pay attention to what you do.”
I sure hope my nephew paid close attention to what I did last weekend. Even on vacation you can learn a thing or two.
I’ll admit that skiing with that small log hurt my hands. I wish I had gloves with me or sandpaper to smooth the edges of the rough wood. But I didn’t. Days later, my hands are fine and I am typing this column. No harm done except a cute, interesting story.
And when I got back on the boat, I laughed when my mom asked me if I got any splinters. “A few,” I responded. My sister called me ‘MacGyver’ the rest of the day as well. I kept thinking to myself though, “Good, that means it’s sticking.”
I’ll appreciate being called MacGyver any day of the week.
Author & Motivational Speaker