The experiences and travails during my days at John Fairfax Ltd. have affected me in many ways. They have affected my view of myself, my view of vision, and my understanding of what it takes to make vision a reality. They have also affected how I help others.
No template or checklist exists for moving beyond a crucible experience. The mixture of emotions, actions and mindset perspectives needed to overcome setbacks and failures is as unique from person to person as the nature of the setbacks and failures themselves.
Life can be confusing. We are trying to figure out who we are and the direction we should go. Get a job, buy a house, have a family. So many things to do. So many obligations. So many expectations. Who has the time to figure out — still less, follow — your own vision?
As we rise in organizations and become more successful and as our businesses grow, life gets more hectic and more demanding. We travel more, are away from home more, the pressure intensifies. Our bosses or our boards seem more demanding. The shareholders expect and demand continuous quarterly earnings increases. But something else happens, too. Perhaps imperceptibly, we begin to change.
Crucible experiences are hard to get over. One of the hardest parts of getting over a devastating failure or setback is forgiving others or yourself.
Accomplishing a vision is not easy. Accomplishing a great and noble vision is harder still. When you have a vision that you feel so passionate about that you would give your life to, failure is not an option.
There is a lot of discussion these days in the world of sports about who is the greatest of all time (GOAT). This was brought to the fore recently with the tragic car accident of Tiger Woods in California. He suffered extensive injuries to his legs. This raised the question of what this would do to Woods’ quest to chase down Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major golf championships. Tiger is now 45 and has 15 major golf titles. Is time running out for Tiger to chase down Jack’s major championship record and be thought of as the definitive best men’s professional golfer of all time?
Bringing a vision to reality is not easy. You might have a vision for a new business you want to start. You might want to take your department at your company to the next level. Or you might have a nonprofit you want to start that you just know will help people that so need to be helped. But once you have such a vision, what do you do with it?
Life can be exhausting. Certainly this year, 2020, has been exhausting. Between COVID-19 and the election in the U.S. and the strain it put on the national dialogue and personal relationships, who can’t wait for 2020 to be over? More generally, you may have been through a professional or personal crisis. You have been fired or lost your business. You may have lost a loved one, or someone you love may be battling an illness. When you feel the bottom of your crucible seems to never end, how do you keep going?