Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Timing is Everything
Sometimes, life is all about timing. This past weekend, Mother and I went to visit Daughter in Tampa. One night, we went out to dinner at a lovely historic restaurant. We brought Daughter's boyfriend with us. Boyfriend had not had a good week. He's a bartender, and the restaurant at which he worked had told everyone three days earlier that they were closing in two days. Our dinner was on his first night of unemployment. Anyway, at dinner, everyone ordered wine with their meal. It didn't arrive. We were done eating, and finally it came. We told the waiter it came too late for us. The waiter apologized profusely. You see, one of the bartenders had quit the night before, so they were really shorthanded. Hmmmmmm. We told him we knew a bartender who needed a job. Boyfriend applied immediately. He got the job. It's a better job than his old one. He thinks he was lucky. Was he? Certainly, all the timing was in his favor - the stars could not have aligned better. If timing were everything, I'd say he was just lucky. Timing, however, is not everything. There's also hard work and ability, not to mention being the right person for the job. Still, even though Boyfriend knew all of that, there's something about being lucky that just makes you feel good; and about being unlucky that makes you feel bad. I think Luck sells you short because you discount everything you did to make the lucky thing happen. You ignore the role of hard work, ability and personal fit, so you can't draw on it in the future, either to learn from your past mistakes or to draw on when the going gets tough.
We see a lot of the "luck" factor here in the Trenches. Most of the luck we hear about it bad. When I hear the word "luck," I see it as an opportunity for discussion and exploration. Clients who talk about how bad luck brought them into the Trenches don't learn from their mistakes, they don't change their behavior and they are, therefore, destined to revisit the Trenches again and again. I try to help them understand their role in creating their situation, so that they can help create the solution. We can't change the rest of the world. We can only change ourselves and how we react to it. In the microcosm of a divorce, learning a different way of behavior helps keep folks out of my office in the future. When I see former clients in successful relationships, I've done my job. Here in the Trenches.