A friend and colleague of mine, named Paul, came to me a few years ago. He was really struggling with the loss of nearly $300,000 and wanted some guidance to work through his stress. It was a special loss as it occurred the moment his son was born. The story goes that Paul was investing in a venture and he was intending on using the returns to build a new room in his house for his newly arrived son. The exact moment his son was born, Paul got a call from his venture partners saying that the investment was bust and the money was gone.
Now, Paul isn’t exactly a struggling entrepreneur, but he lost enough capital to wound him and ever since that moment he had been feeling resentment towards himself for taking the risk. He felt guilt towards his wife for losing the money and not providing what they needed for their son, and a bit of resentment towards his son for even existing, as the reason Paul took the risk was for him. He wouldn’t have done it otherwise.
I looked at Paul and I said “Paul, if in that same moment when you lost the money, I took your son away and held him for ransom, and I threatened that if you don’t pay me I’m going to put your son in a box and sink him in the ocean. You will never hear or see from him again. This also means that I am taking away the look on your wife’s face when she sees her son for the first time. She won’t have that and you won’t either…”
Paul cut me off and said ‘I’d pay it.’
I asked him how much the look of love on his wife’s face was worth to him, what it meant to him to see her see her son for the first time. Paul cried immediately because he finally got to see that nothing was missing.
In that moment, he gained a new connection to his wife, a new son, all of which was worth way more than what he lost. In that moment, he returned himself to love for himself and the universe.
He later made the money back in record time. That’s part of the wisdom of transformation. Whenever we perceive a loss, we can feel empty, angry, stressed, all of which can lead us into the darker places of life. Loss can keep us stuck in emotions and freeze us from taking new action, but when we have the right tools, or the right viewpoint, and we can transcend our initial perceptions and regain our awareness of eternal compensation, we can see that in every loss there is a gain and in every gain a loss. Learning to appreciate this rule of life, this law, helps us stay balanced in a changing world and stay grateful in a changing heart.
Whenever we have an open heart we have a great power accessible to us. @MissionInspired
(Click to Tweet!)
Those with open hearts see opportunities where others see desperation. They see grace where others see chaos. Those with open hearts feel alive while those with closed hearts live smaller in their lives.
At some moment, you have to ask yourself, is how I feel right now the way I imagined feeling when I signed up for life? Yes or no? If no, then what do I need to do to open my heart again? What do I need to love in order to love again?
This is wisdom I’ve had the opportunity to apply to myself recently. I’ve worked for over a decade in the television industry, learning everything I could about television, news and media on national and international scale. I’ve learned how it’s made and what it’s really about and I’ve basically mastered the art of television news. I’ve learned things in this time that I would love more people to know. It pains me to see people make judgments about things in the world, other people, other cultures, industries, religions, just because a talking-head told them to, or some ‘journalist’ with no expertise claims to be an expert just because the assignment editor says so. The truth is, there’s almost no truth in media. So when I lost my position because the company dissolved, I had some truths to discover about what I was going to do next.
One thing really bugged me about my ‘working style’ in television. Even though I worked for more than ten years and collectively made over $500,000 dollars in income, I had nothing to show for it at the end. Call me a good spender and bad saver, it was still astonishing to me when I did the math on it. I was pretty upset at myself in that realization, for expecting myself to have a greater value on money (and myself) when I obviously didn’t.
I’ve lost jobs before, but this one was different. I now have a son of my own. I have a responsibility to provide and there’s not a lot of job-growth in the television industry. Even if there was, I’m not sure I want to continue in it because of how brain-washing it was on my own psyche and on people who have been trained since childhood to think through television. Television was once something I loved doing, but now it’s become a chore and it’s something I’d rather destroy to create something new.
I sat down and started thinking. What have I gained in those ten plus years that makes up for the loss? I really sat with this for a few moments and what startled me with honesty were these simple two words: my voice.
It was as clear as a diamond. Before this time in television, I didn’t have much of a voice. I was that guy who would rather stay home and play video games than go to his high school prom. I was that shy guy who was always uncomfortable going to parties. Now, you can put me in front of a million people and I’ll pour out my heart and soul through my voice. In those ten years I learned how to express myself. I learned how to lead a team. I learned how to direct a show. I learned how to direct my life and the lives of those who ask for my help.
Now I sing, I speak and I have great and inspiring things to say. Now, my voice makes me money, through song, through speaking and through helping people all over the world with their life’s challenges. I love what I do and I easily recognize that I paid my fee for my school, it just took the form of a television studio.
To me, my voice and my confidence in sharing it is worth billions to me. When I was younger, I would have paid that $500,000 to let my voice free. Now, through my career, I invested the money into myself, my personal growth and my experiences to become one of the best ‘life coaches’ and creative thinkers in the world. I say that with certainty now it opens my heart to see how far I’ve come. So the next time you find yourself losing money, consider that perhaps you’ve gained something way more valuable to you. Perhaps you ‘lost’ what had less meaning to you and gained something way more powerful instead.
Stephan Gardner is a Life Performance, Personal Development & Psychology Specialist who helps people achieve mental well being through a luminary understanding of human behaviour, emotions, yoga, meditation and life transformation. A teacher of personal and spiritual development and dedicated Yoga practitioner, his mission is to inspire you to reach life fulfillment through inspired work, wisdom, and love. Connect with Stephan. You can follow him on Twitter or find more info on his website.