I do lots of research before I go on a vacation, mostly to find things that are off the beaten path - I don't like to go where all the tourists go. On a trip to Sedona several years ago with my husband, two children and my sister-in-law Nanci, I planned for us to drive up to the local airport on top of a plateau to watch the sunset. It was said to be breath-taking. I was excited to say the least.
We were running a little late at dinner, and I was anxious to get to the sunset. As
we were driving up the road, cars were driving down. We had missed it - it
was over. We got to the top looking out over Sedona, with no sunset, and I
was incredibly disappointed. It was then that Nanci told us to turn around and look behind us....the moon was rising over a mountain. It was spectacular. It was not at all what we had planned - it was better.
Sometimes in our work, in our careers, in our lives, things don't always work out as we plan. A project doesn't get completed on time. A prospective client falls through. A job you really want ends going to someone else. Yet somehow it always seems that we end up right where we are supposed to be. It always brings you to another place, and though you may be disappointed at first, sometimes all it takes is a slight change in your position - turn around, and the thing that had been behind you becomes an even better path forward.
I have a picture of Nanci and my kids with the moon rising over the mountains hanging on my wall. And even though my son's eyes are closed, that picture was one of her favorites - it is one of mine too - because it captured that amazing moment. We lost Nanci to cancer a year and a half ago, and of the many, many lessons she taught me, this is one of the most meaningful.
Don't dwell on the fact that you missed your sunset, or you will miss the opportunity to see you are right where you are supposed to be. Turn around - find your moonrise.
Debbie Millin is President of UpperLevel Solutions - a Boston-based firm offering part-time and interim Chief Operating Officer services, operational assessments as a health check or as part of due diligence,
and executive project leadership.