Photo by Aral Tasher on Unsplash

Have you ever planned something fun or important and then decided not to follow through on your plans because of a change in circumstances.  Are you able to follow through and finish what you start even if the change in circumstances if very challenging?

Let me tell you another true story.

Many years ago, my friends and I decided to have a barbecue on a Labor Day Monday on Bradford Beach in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Bradford Beach is on Milwaukee’s east side lakefront on the western shore of Lake Michigan.

On Sunday before that Labor Day Monday, it was sunny, with a temperature was in the 70’s and no wind.  We bought all the food and made all the other preparations for our barbecue.  We got the charcoal, the grill, the lawn chairs, the volleyball net, a Frisbee, and a football together and ready for loading in the cars.

However, none of us bothered to check the weather.   That was a big mistake. Overnight, a cold front came through with heavy rain, the temperature dropped into the 50’s with a northeast wind that was howling at about 25 miles-per-hour and creating very large waves at the beach and blowing sand with the intensity of a sandblaster.

For anybody who has grown up on the western shore of Lake Michigan, you really understand exactly what this weather day was like. 

For those of you who have not, when a cold front comes through and the wind blows out of the northeast, it generates very large waves, blowing sand and some of the worst possible conditions for being at the beach on western side of Lake Michigan.

Since none of us had anything better to do, we decided to have our barbecue in spite of the really nasty weather. We gathered our rain gear and the barbecue supplies and drove to the beach and set-up for our barbecue in the heavy rain. We were the only people for miles up and down Bradford beach.

We had such a good time, this Labor Day barbecue was probably the best holiday barbecue we ever had, in spite of the very challenging conditions. I do not think we ever had more fun or laughed as hard as we did that Labor Day.

On a typical Labor Day weekend, all of the local news stations do stories about people engaging in different activities and enjoying the last few days of summer.

That Labor Day weekend was no exception.  Since we were the only people on the beach for miles having a barbecue in heavy rain in 50 degree temperatures, the local reporters who worked for the ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates all stopped to interview us to have us explain why we were still out on the beach having our barbecue. The edited interviews were all shown on the 10 pm news on all three local news stations. All of friends and neighbors saw the interviews and thought the whole experience was hilarious.

We created a memory and life experience we still all talk about.  We all followed through in spite of the change of circumstances and very challenging circumstances.  That Labor Day, we also used up all of our “15 minutes of fame.” 

15 minutes of fame” is an expression for short-lived media publicity or celebrity status for an individual or phenomenon. The expression was inspired by the famous artist Andy Warhol’s words “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”, which appeared in the program for a 1968 exhibition of his work.

So how can you follow through and finish what you start when circumstances in your life change and things do not go as you planned them?

  1. Focus on the benefits.  Make a list of all positive benefits you will achieve or obtain by following through and completing what you have planned.  Using your list of positive benefits to create a plan to follow through to a desired positive end result even through your current set of circumstances may be challenging or causing you negative emotions.
  2. Become comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Understand and acknowledge that your short-term discomfort will lead to long-term gains and achievements.  Personal growth begins in a state of chaos which is the catalyst of change and ends in a state of calm and peace. Embrace the chaos of change. Change your current relationship with change and your emotional triggers that cause you to be uncomfortable and re-frame them as an opportunity for positive growth.
  3. Become action-oriented. Create a set of small meaningful action steps you can take to follow through to your desired positive end result.  Next prioritize your set of action steps.  Take daily actions on these small meaningful steps based on your priority scheme. These prioritized daily actions allow you to maintain a positive daily orientation and allow you to successfully follow through to your desired positive end result even when your current set of circumstances is very challenging.

Having the ability to follow through in challenging circumstances will allow you to create a positive impact in your life and in the life of others and may even allow you to capture some of your own 15 minutes of fame.

Out There on the Edge of Everything®

Stephen Lesavich, PhD

Copyright © 2020, by Stephen Lesavich, PhD.  All rights reserved.

Certified solution-focused life coach and experienced business coach.

If you would like to receive personal coaching by Dr. Lesavich, please visit his life coaching web-site for additional information.

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