FranklinCovey Consultant Blogs | Todd Wangsgard | May, 2011
Last Wednesday between client events, I took a quick stroll down memory lane while visiting my collegiate alma mater in the small eastern Idaho town of Rexburg. I slipped presumptuously through an unlocked backstage door of the performing arts building to find this single work lamp illuminating the space where I once played the lead in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” just 23 short years ago. I took advantage of the solitude and sat in the middle of the house seats to ponder the production that was a central part of my freshman year of college.
So many decisions are made during this formative stage. The first time living away from home. Contemplating the career one might pursue. Making friends who are in a similar stage. Reinforcing life-views that shape one’s future.
This recent pondering got me thinking about subsequent stages that make us who we are. For some, the stage of courtship and marriage. Extended volunteer service, sometimes internationally. Children. Career changes, lay-offs and even self-employment.
The wild swings in the economy over the past 15 years have certainly reinforced the need to remain focused on things that matter most. Today the economy remains uncertain. One thing is certain, however: our ability to purposefully engage in a new stage, learn, contribute, and grow.
For any of us feeling stagnant on the current stage, perhaps now is the perfect time to deliberately embark on a new one. What are the most important things to you? What are you particularly good at? At what points throughout your life have you performed at your best? Who should your consider a valued partner in this proposition?
There’s nothing quite like opening night on a new stage to generate the creative tension required to keep us performing at our best.
Hearing Mike Reilly’s voice over the loud speakers shouting, “Todd Wangsgard, You are an Ironman!” was quite a rush. But it paled in comparison to the waves of emotion that would wash over me spontaneously along the 12 hour and 55 minute journey I took last Saturday through the vivid desert of southwestern Utah.
The primary goal for my first Ironman (and yes, there will be a second) was to “enjoy every minute of it.” I borrowed this from a first-timer Ironman participant and USAT executive who posted a video online last October about his preparations. “What a great concept,” I thought. “Just prepare yourself to enjoy the entire experience.”
I enjoyed every minute of it! Now, I simply need to redefine “enjoy.”
There were moments, like the first ten minutes of the swim when I thought my lungs would collapse or burst or both. The run was a brutal climb – two times – up the double lap course following Red Hills Parkway in 95-degree heat. But during the hard minutes of last Saturday’s epic adventure, I was reminded of the journey that had brought me to that point, and instantly I could feel the encouragement, kind words, and prayers (yes, there’s no doubt this feat required some Divine intervention) that had been and were being offered on my behalf.
Serendipity – defined by dictionary.com as “an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident” – is a rule I strive to live by. It requires some luck. But luck certainly favors the prepared. There were countless desirable discoveries that occurred during my first IM experience that will take a while to commit to print. Suffice it to say, the most important discovery was that anyone can accomplish anything he or she puts his or her heart and soul into.
What is that one thing – big or little – that you’ve been wanting to accomplish for a long time, or just decided to do last week, or you know will make you a better parent, leader, employee, human being? How long have you put it off? How long before the time required to get it done runs out? How many more “can’ts” before you decide it’s “can?”
If you’re feeling brave (and I know you are), add a brief comment to this posting describing that one thing you’ve been meaning to do. I’m sure there are plenty I need to commit doing right alongside you. Let’s get it done together!