Earlier this fall, we celebrated the Thanksgiving of my homeland, Canada. Now, with American Thanksgiving upon us, I can’t help but be reminded of the brave pilgrims of our past who left behind everything they knew to settle a new world.
These explorers likely offset the anxieties of leaving the familiar, by focusing on the thrill of a fresh start with new experiences. Then, once they arrived, they encountered unforeseen obstacles and challenges, some of which threatened the success of their mission – and sometimes their very lives.
Does this sound like a history channel documentary about the 1500’s? This tale of explorers, new worlds, and obstacles is also my own story. In 2000, my family and I moved from Canada to the USA. It was exciting and exhausting and I had a list of things to do about 10 miles long! I was up to my eyeballs between moving, working, and corralling our two little girls. I barely had time to catch my breath.
Then suddenly, smack dab in the middle of my chaotic voyage to a new world, just when I was hoping for a little smooth sailing, I was blindsided by a storm at sea. During my routine first physical exam in Pennsylvania, the doctor found “SOMETHING.” I barely took notice, my brain continuing to spin with the details of my current plan of action. I was too busy. My things-to-do list was still out of control. Whatever this was had better be nothing. I didn’t have time for this. The doctor then got my attention in two words – breast cancer.
All my things to do drifted silently to my feet like a fallen house of playing cards. My spinning brain ground to an abrupt halt. Here I was, an enthusiastic explorer from the land of Canada, suddenly facing a life or death obstacle in my new country.
In the coming weeks and months I was faced with (in addition to everything else) a barrage of tests, doctors’ visits, near crippling, claustrophobic terror at times and unbelievable anxiety about my future, as well as my family’s future in light of this diagnosis. My mother had already passed away from breast cancer. Was I next?
At one my lowest of low points I felt like I was trapped in a cold, dark cave with no way out. In that moment God shone a light in, found me, led me out, and lifted me up with hope. He was beside me through the surgery, radiation treatments, and recovery, while also watching over my family, from the waiting room, to my bedside and to our lives beyond.
What began as a jarring entry into a new world ended with many valuable life lessons that stick with me today. The one I want to share with you today – the one I want you to truly “own” is about the importance of regrouping and reevaluating your plan in times of crisis or challenge.
In business and in life we are hit with these moments, when we have a plan in place and think we know exactly what will happen next. The fact is, my friends, we have no idea what will happen next. To believe otherwise would be foolish and counterproductive. Our job is to hold the desire of what we want firmly in our thoughts, and then accept responsibility for the action that is needed to get us where we want to go.
It’s critically important to make plans for your business and your life. It’s just as important to give yourself permission, without guilt or self-judgment, to adjust these plans when adjustments need to be made. Because very often, it is the things you learn, during those course adjustments that shape your life for the better.
The storms I’ve weathered, things I’ve learned, and abundance of blessings bestowed on me throughout it all, make me more grateful than ever for my journey.
How many pilgrims are lucky enough to have two lands to be thankful for? I’m proud to have been born and raised in Canada and then extremely grateful for the life we have now in the USA. The milestones, successes, and experiences our family has experienced in the past 13 years have been simply amazing. Taking the leap of faith to move to the USA has proven to be a successful leap. Now, my husband and I watch as our girls achieve their own successes and create their own legacies here in the USA. Yes, Canada will always be my homeland, but the good ole USA is now my home.
Linda McLean, CEO and founder of McLean International, is a Certified Business Coach, speaker, and a #1 International bestselling author. She can be reached via [email protected]