“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” – William Shakespeare, dramatist
“The other day I almost clipped a car while I was…?”
Gavin was a small guy, dark complexion, about five foot six and 140 pounds soaking wet. And, he loved soccer. He played in three leagues and at one time had aspired to play in the big times. But, he was aware enough to know it wasn’t in the cards for him. He had a knee injury the previous year which had ended his dream, which in hindsight, he now referred to as a fantasy created from watching too many ‘World Cup’ games.
Gavin now operated a snow removal operation in the small town where he was born and grew up. He told me it paid the bills but unless he went bigger, which meant more machines and more staff, he was destined to just get by in his current situation.
When I asked him how I might serve him, he replied looking down at the floor,
“The other day I almost clipped a car while I was doing a driveway. I realized I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing. That has been happening a lot over the past few months. And, even playing soccer has changed somehow…it’s like I’m bored with it…and I’m dissatisfied with my job. I don’t hate it, but I don’t find it very meaningful anymore.”
“So you want to get your act together?”
“What motivated you to decide to call me, Gavin?”
“My girlfriend, now ex girlfriend, Gaby, said…before she dumped me…I should see someone. As she put it, talk to someone who can help me ‘get my act together’.”
“So you want to get your act together? What do you think your act should be?” I asked him, wondering how far he had gone in his own analysis.
“I don’t know for sure, but I’ve always wanted to help people!” he replied.
“In what way would you like to help them? Would it be in a spiritual, mental, vocational, financial, social, familial or physical way?” I asked, giving him a wide range of options to see where his focus lay.
“… helping Gertrude is really important to you…”
He paused thoughtfully and then said,
“I have this elderly lady client, Gertrude Green who is in her eighties and still drives her own car. She goes to the community centre to volunteer five days a week, regardless of the weather. So, I make sure I plow her driveway first after a storm. And, I can always depend on her to be in her front window with a big smile, waving and miming a ‘thank you’ to me. It makes it all worthwhile!”
“Makes what worthwhile, Gavin?” I asked pulling the information he needed out of him, bit by bit.
“Meeting the payments on a large equipment loan, working ridiculously long hours, going out in the most dangerous weather on the planet and being totally dependent on bad weather for my income.” he said half smiling.
“So, helping Gertrude is really important to you, eh? And, don’t you also help your other customers get to work, school, medical appointments, and so on?”
“Yes, I think that’s true. But, it is something about Gertrude…or maybe it’s the elderly I really find special…kind of fulfilling in some way. I was really close to my Mom’s Mom, Nanny,…well, Genevieve was her real name.”
“How did you get so connected to your Nanny, Gavin?”
“She lived with us during her last years. We were close and I still miss her! And it must be over five years now since she passed on. We would really, really talk…you know what I mean, Ken?” his said his eyes glistening with emotion.
You control your future, your destiny. What you think about comes about. Put your future in good hands – your own.”
– Mark Victor Hansen, businessman
“… if it was true…would it still be worth it…”
“Did you ever consider working more directly with the elderly, Gavin?”
“I have actually, Ken. But, I’d need to go back to school for a couple of years to learn how to do it and get the diploma I need for that kind of work.”
“Would it interest you to study for two years or more on the care of the elderly?”
“Yeah, it does actually. But, I’d have to either rely on my family again to support me or get a student loan. And, I’d probably have to give up my snow clearing business as well.” he said despondently.
“That could be true. And, if it was true…would it still be worth it to you to be moving to a career that feels more fulfilling?” I asked, wondering how interested he really was in caring for seniors.
“I am very interested, but I’m really concerned with all the changes I would need to make…” he replied.
“Are you saying you have no regrets?”
“Gavin, you probably already know from your life experiences that nothing very important is very easy. I think you’d be wise to be aware of the responsibilities, and commitments, you would be making to change your career.”
“It really scares the hell out of me every time I think about it! And, what if i screw it up, Ken?” he said, the trepidation emerging in his voice and face.
“Do you want a comforting thought, Gavin?”
“I’ve learned the only real truth in life, and the only thing you can depend on, are the laws of nature which have been running our system for over 400 billion years. And, one of its most basic laws is of symmetry or balance.”
“Why is that so important in my situation, Ken?”
“Well, I frequently remind myself I can’t fail without succeeding, and I can’t succeed without failing. So, there really can be no mistakes, only learning opportunities.” I offered.
“Are you saying you have no regrets?” he asked, surprised.
“Every man has his own destiny: the only imperative is to follow it, to accept it, no matter where it leads him.”
– Henry Miller, author
“…I put my trust in the laws of nature!”
“Gavin, I have lots of events I thought were mistakes at first. But, when I looked at them more carefully, I discovered I always learned something that helped me become smarter and stronger. And, I haven’t found an exception to this! So, I put my trust in the laws of nature!”
“That would mean if I take the risks involved in moving into a job in the care of seniors, it will, according to this symmetry law, have to be a ‘successful failure’…or a ‘failing success,’ eh?”
“That’s right! For you to have the self satisfaction of working in senior’s care, you will need to take the risks involved to get there. And, they will balance out but it will be OK with you if you feel you are being more clearly purposeful.”
“Ken, when you say it that way it doesn’t seem so bad after all. Can we look at the implications for me in more detail?”
“Gavin, let’s do just that!”
Gavin developed a plan to transition himself back to school and into becoming a resident care worker. It involved a lot of important decisions that impacted his lifestyle and his finances. He was able to keep his snow removal business during his first year of school by scheduling his classes accordingly. In his second year he sold it to a friend so it wouldn’t interfere with his studies.
“Control your own destiny or someone else will.” – Jack Welch, businessman
Until Next time…
Now you know, if you don’t design your own destiny, someone who cares about you will try to. But they can’t do it because they don’t know you. Only you know you! And, anything that is important for you to accomplish will not be easy, otherwise you would have already done it. It will challenge you to grow and learn what you need for your future. In this journey, you will not experience mistakes…but rather learning opportunities…appreciate them because they will make you smarter and stronger!
YOUR NEXT OPPORTUNITY TO UNCOVER YOUR PERFECTION:
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Namaste, (I salute the grandly organized design of the universe, manifested in you!)
Be well…balanced! Ken
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