Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Power of Choice - Using Adversity as the Catalyst for Change

None of us will make it through life without committing a series of mistakes or errors in judgment. I know I have made my share. Mistakes are a part of life. I don't mind making them, however I don't want to keep repeating the same ones over and over.

Some of them have been very costly and downright embarrassing.

Let me share with you one of my biggest mistakes, and more importantly, let me share with you the valuable lesson I learned from it.

It was 1997. I had worked my way out of poverty and had grown my business from a $100 investment into a $200,000 a year income.

I had learned how to make money, but had no clue how to manage it.

An acquaintance of mine, we'll call her Joni, mentioned to me that she was buying a lot of shares of a particular stock, with the expectation that it would soon split or triple in price within a few months. She told me she was investing her life savings into buying as much as she could and that I should do the same.

I thought about it, and at the time, I was saving money to buy my mom a new house so I thought, hey if I took the $30,000 I had saved up and bought the stock - and it tripled, that would be $90,000. Great move, right? (Mistake #1)

Well obviously I had never purchased stocks before and I had no idea how to do it. So what did I do?

I heard my UPS guy, (yes, my UPS guy) invested in stocks so I asked him how to buy stocks. He told me to go to XXX broker in town (who shall remain nameless) and open an account. (Mistake #2)

So I went to the broker, whom eagerly helped me open an account and he completed the transaction that bought me $30,000 of this particular stock. (Mistake #3)

Within a few months, the stock had plummeted and went from $30,000 down to $400. That's not a typo, it had gone down to $400.

I was sick about it. I was incredibly disappointed in myself.

I was upset with the other parties who guided me to create that outcome. I had every reason to be angry. I felt cheated. I mean, I later learned the broker broke the law and never should have placed such a large order for a first time client. They are not supposed to allow beginners to take such large risks.

I had every reason to blame everyone else for what had happened.

But I learned a very valuable lesson during that time and it has served me ever since.

I want to share it with you because I want you to pause and think about this the next time you experience a challenge, a difficulty or a problem in life, especially when you are tempted to blame everyone and everything around you.

Here is the lesson.

You always have a choice.

You see, I could have looked at that situation from a "Nail in My Coffin" perspective: ie "those people did me wrong and it's their fault," and "I'll never buy another stock again"


I could have looked at it as a "Catalyst for Change" perspective. ie "I am responsible. I made the decisions, I didn't do my diligent research, I invested too much on my first trade, I will take a step back and re evaluate my approach next time."

Let me simplify it and break it down even further:

Problem: lost $29,600 in stock trade

My Choices:

Nail in Coffin = I am a Victim and I give my power away when I blame others


Catalyst for Change = I emerge the Victor because I claim my power to change the present and the future by taking responsibility

You see, I could have easily put the blame on everyone else. And if I did that, I would never have learned the lesson. I would have never changed. Though it wasn't easy, after looking at it, I knew there were a number of things I could have done differently.

Whenever you focus blame outside of yourself, you give your power away. Whenever you take responsibility, you claim your ability to change, grow, and create different outcomes in the future.

I knew that despite the appearance of the circumstances, that I was responsible for that loss. I made a series of errors in judgment, as well intentioned as they were.

As long as you blame others outside yourself, you will not change. Nothing will change for you. You will be doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

You always have a choice.

Liberate yourself by taking responsibility for your actions, even when you can justify placing it outside yourself. Let your mistakes serve you. Learn from them, let them change you for the better. Let them empower you.

I turned one of my biggest mistakes into one of my greatest lessons and by taking 100% responsibility, I allowed it to serve me. I took back my power.

I used as a catalyst for positive change.

"Every problem contains within it the seed of an equal or greater opportunity. Not just some of the time, but all of the time." -Jill Koenig

The facts remained the same, I still lost $ 29,600. But it doesn't hurt anymore. My perspective on it changed.

It became a blessing that has served me many times over.

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Live Your Dreams

Jill Koenig, the "Goal Guru" is America's Top Goal Strategist. A best selling Author, Coach and Motivational Speaker, she is an expert on the subjects of Goal Setting, Time Management and Business Success. Her Goal in life is to help you UNLEASH your untapped potential. Get your FREE Goal Setting CD at: http://www.GoalGuru.com

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