Survive or Thrive Part 4 – “Moving Beyond Surviving Requires Turning the Tide”

The movie Castaway is one of my favorites because of its powerful message. In it, a FedEx worker (played by Tom Hanks) survives a plane crash and is stranded for several years on a tropical island. After being rescued, he is asked how he managed to keep going, day after day, with his sanity intact. Hanks’ character replies, “I never knew what the tide would bring in.”

What a powerful thought! Whenever I’m facing life’s challenges, I think about what the tide may bring in. On a good day, it may bring an unexpected gift. For the Castaway character, his gift was a Porta-Potty, which he used to create a sail; attached to a raft, the sail allowed him to get off the island. A portable toilet—what an unexpected gift!

In moving through my layoff crisis, the unexpected gift was the birth of a new business—one that embodies many of the principles. I’ve found helpful in my own turnaround. I named the company Stepp Sydnor Training Solutions. My company’s focus is helping organizations and individuals transform from a surviving mindset to a thriving one—like the Castaway character who maintains his hope expecting the tide to bring in something good. Were it not for my being toppled from what I thought was a secure situation, I would not have found my life’s true calling. I didn’t know I could write seminars and do them for a living. What seemed to be a
tragedy actually became a gift.

I had no control over the change that swept through my life. However, I did have a choice about how I responded to it. Regardless of the agony of my situation—in the layoff and then in the divorce—I realized I was still responsible for creating my future. I once heard that ten percent of life is what happens to you, and ninety percent is how you respond. What happens to us is not nearly as important as what emanates from us. As it was for me with the birth of a new company, change can be the seed for new growth and a whole new way of seeing and being.
“A certain amount of opposition is of great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with, the wind.”
John Neal
How much of our lives do we lose when challenges hit and we focus all our energy on just trying to survive? We miss out on the unexpected gifts. The good news is we can do much more than
How about you? Where are you stuck? Are you looking for an unexpected gift? Don’t overlook the little things—the small opportunities that you could miss because your mind is focused on just surviving. Think about what you have been through or what you’re going through and ask yourself this question.
Will you just survive … or thrive?
A Perfect Picture of Peace

Long ago a man sought the perfect picture of peace. Not finding one that satisfied, he announced a contest to produce this masterpiece. The challenge stirred the imagination of artists everywhere, and paintings arrived from far and wide. Finally the great day of revelation arrived. The judges uncovered one peaceful scene after another, while viewers clapped and cheered.

The tensions grew. Only two pictures remained veiled. As a judge pulled the cover from one, a hush fell over the crowd. A mirror-smooth lake reflected lacy, green birches under the soft blush of the evening sky. Along the grassy shore, a flock of sheep grazed undisturbed. Surely this was the winner.

The man with the vision uncovered the second painting himself, and the crowd gasped in surprise. Could this be peace?

A tumultuous waterfall cascaded down a rocky precipice; the crowd could almost feel its cold, penetrating spray. Stormy-grey clouds threatened to explode with lightning, wind and rain. In the midst of the thundering noises and bitter chill, a spindly tree clung to the rocks at the edge of the falls. One of its branches reached out in front of the torrential waters as if foolishly seeking to experience its full power. A little bird had built a nest in the elbow of that branch. Content and undisturbed in her stormy surroundings, she rested on her eggs. With her eyes closed and her wings ready to cover her little ones, she manifested peace that transcends all earthly turmoil.

Stepp Stevens Sydnor
B2B Sales Trainer/Coach | Sales Transformation Specialist | Author | Speaker