I was driving down the highway the other day when I noticed something up in the sky. As I drove closer to the object, I was able to assess what was up there. The object appeared to be a plastic bag, the kind that you get at the grocery store. The bag was flying up and down and around with such energy. It followed no pattern or course, simply depending on the next big gust of wind to decide its fate.
The whole experience reminded me of a number of people that I’ve come across in my life.
I had a conversation with a young man a couple years ago. The talk turned to his part-time job, so I asked him how it was going. He lamented that his hours had been cut and felt angry about the whole situation. He told me exactly how he was going to be affected by this unfortunate turn of events. He definitely did his fair share of complaining.
I listened to him for a while before I spoke. I asked him the obvious question— had he had discussed the cutbacks with his supervisor? He looked at me incredulously and said no. When I asked him why he hadn’t had a discussion with this boss, he really didn’t have an answer.
I explained to him that he needed to ask WHY his hours had been cut. Then, with his boss, he needed to outline the reasons why allowing him to keep those hours would be the right decision. Frankly, none of this had ever occurred to him. He didn’t feel that he had a choice in the situation. I believe he was just waiting for that next big gust of wind to decide his fate.
I talked to a young woman on the phone today. Earlier this year, she had lost her job to an unfortunate turn of events. She spent hours researching, networking and pounding the pavement to find another job. It didn’t surprise me that she found the perfect match fairly quick in her journey. Today she shared that, again, her new employer is taking drastic measures to cut back and a whole team has been laid off.
This is devastating news considering she just got back on her feet. However, I was impressed by the strength in her voice. She refused to waste time whining about what couldn’t change and she was already busy networking and researching how she could take charge in her situation. She was adamant that she would control her destiny. She would not accept that the next big gust of wind would decide her fate.
I hate to say this, but I know individuals that have spent their whole lives in this pattern. They float and bob from one job or relationship to the next, letting others decide their fate. When the wind stops, they land. Usually, they blame their misfortune on others, never accepting the fact that the whole time, they had the ability to control their own path in life.
This is your reminder that you don’t have to be that plastic bag taking flight in the wind, unsure of where you’re going or when you will land.
You have the power to control your own destiny.