In my late twenties I went through a pretty rough stretch. I was selling my business for a loss, my girlfriend was in love with another guy, and I felt about as low as you can get.

One day when having coffee with some friends I started in on the “poor me” litany. After I finished telling everyone my problems, an elderly gentleman named Fred spoke up. Fred had plenty of issues himself, including a terminally ill wife and a disabled son.

Fred said, “I know how difficult life can be, but what I can tell you is everything that has happened to me in my life has worked out for the best. I also learned that how I react and what I do usually determines the outcome.”

I was blown away. Here was a guy who had much bigger problems than I did, and he was telling me that everything works out for the best. It gave me hope, although it did take me a while to understand the notion that how I reacted and what I did will determine the outcome of whatever was going on.

I’ve learned since then that neither success nor failure is forever. It’s just what’s happening in the moment. Difficult times pass, as do the best of days. What really matters is how I use these experiences as I go forward.

As a matter of fact, I’ve put it into an equation that I’ve used for years to guide my thinking and actions:

Experiences of the past + knowledge gained today + the actions I take now = A better tomorrow.

That’s exactly what I see successful people do. They use both success and failure as learning experiences.

That Fred was a pretty smart guy. Years later, I have a great family I never would have if it weren’t for all those problems. I also wouldn’t be here at Silva Law / QuickSilva, since my career path would have taken a completely different route.

As this year comes to an end and you start to think about 2019, I hope you remember the lesson from Fred. Everything works out for the best, depending on the actions you take and how you use the experience.

Let me ask, where will your actions take you in 2019? What will you do to create success in the coming year?

About the author
Silva Law / QuickSilva CEO Doug Fleener is a former organizational consultant and international keynote speaker who for sixteen years helped thousands of individuals and businesses to improve their sales performance and customer experience. Contact us to learn how Doug can present one of the Success Academy programs at your next staff meeting.