Life is full of challenges. This applies in the business arena and also in our personal lives. We can live a negative ‘story’ or through innovation change the situation creatively into one that not only is more acceptable, but has great benefits. We need to treat each ‘hiccup’ as a gift that could start us on a new, positive ‘story’. The old cliché, ‘if life gives you a lemon, make lemonade!’ contains a powerful message.
Let me give you an example. My husband, Ed, unfortunately experienced a major stroke 30 years ago. To us he has led a ‘normal’ life since them. Oh yes, it has been filled with major challenges but we have met those with the help of a strong support structure - our amazing close family who are always ‘there’ for us, caring friends and an unbelievable team of doctors who make themselves available to us 24 hours a day. So, I repeat, this means that both Ed and I can lead ‘normal’ lives.
We seem to go to hospital like other people go shopping! (Not quite!) Ed has just spent another 10 days in St Anne’s and had a major crisis during this time. So, obviously we were all despondent as the increased pain and further deterioration were debilitating. However, in the midst of this, Ed suddenly decided that he wanted a ‘sportscar’ and continued to search the Internet (his favourite hobby)! This confused everyone. However, he persisted in his ‘shopping around’.
As a result, ‘Sportscar’ arrived two days ago, weighing in at 48 kgs. Ed immediately decided that his new companion is a ‘he’ and named him ‘Sportscar’. I tried saying, ‘doesn’t Mellow Yellow suit him better?’ ‘Yellow Submarine’ was also suggested. (The lesson here is that we should explore possibilities.) But no, the official announcement is that his name is ‘Sportscar’. That certainly sounds much better than ‘Electric (Wheel)chair’!
Our housekeeper chuckles as she hears Ed arriving at the dinner table riding ‘Sportscar’.Like a new puppy, ‘Sportscar’ has spent the first few nights with his new owners at the foot of our bed. He couldn’t possibly be left out in the cold in the Cornerstone Carpark! However, ‘Botox’ (my white Mercedes – officially called the ‘Facelift model’ by Mercedes) and ‘Long John’, Ed’s white Mercedes ‘estate car’ (please note, also a ‘he’) are looking forward to sharing their space with ‘Sportscar’. (Life is much more meaningful when we can name things.)
So, why am I telling you all of this? Think of ‘Sportscar’ as a metaphor for turning problems into challenges in our business and private lives. How can we make the situation more ‘palatable’? How can we even introduce an element of Fun (with a capital ‘F’) into any situation? What can we do to turn something dreary into an exciting concept that captures the imagination of our target market and also those whom we serve? ‘Wheelchair’ has negative connotations. ‘Sportscar’ is exciting. Black is boring. Bright yellow adds ‘oomph’. ‘Bulky and square’ is stuck in the past, ‘zippy scooter’ takes us into the future. (Coaches please note – here we have ‘old narrative’ and ‘new narrative’ on a continuum. But I think it works, don’t you?)
So, my BIG question is: how do we turn the ‘wheelchairs’ or even the ‘electric (wheel)chairs’ in our businesses or personal lives into ‘sportscars’? Have fun thinking about this.
For more information on Executive Coaching or keynote speeches please contact Brenda Eckstein on +27 82 4993311 or firstname.lastname@example.org