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Lessons from the Ashes

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We all experience difficulties in our lives, whether in our health, relationships or business. Over the years, I have survived many different crises – from financial challenges, to our home being destroyed by wildfire, to serious health issues. I have tried to handle each of these trials in a way that made my relationships better, my family stronger and my business more prosperous. I made a comeback from a setback, and here’s how you can do the same!

Be Refined by the Fire

Gold is refined and purified by being subjected to intense heat in a crucible. The purer the gold, the more valuable it becomes. The same principle applies to us. When we are under pressure in our lives, our impurities are burned away, we melt down and we are refined to create something new and more valuable than before. Of course, some people replace their old impurities with new! When they get burned by life, they become more cynical and complaining and so less valuable to their family, friends, customers and society. In truth, difficult circumstances either purify or embitter. As James Allen said, “Circumstances do not make the man, they reveal him.” When you are under heat and pressure, short-term shortcomings can be exposed. But you must remember that real growth often happens when bad things occur. You either get humble or you get humbled!

Begin Again

When you go through the fire, there’s a chance to begin again, even if you don’t recognize that immediately. When our family home was destroyed by a wildfire, my first reaction was to question why. Ours was the only house on our street that was destroyed. Of course, I didn’t wish ill on anyone else, but I did wonder why we had to endure suffering when others didn’t. In time, however, I got perspective. I realized that there was an opportunity to begin again and I embraced that. When life goes sideways, you’re faced with a choice in how you look at things, how you think about things and how you act. After the fire, we lost much, but we also had the chance to see with new eyes and learn new lessons. Although we never fully replaced what we had, we made the choice to begin anew. Perseverance is a big part of any fresh start. You can feel overwhelmed by your circumstances, but you have to push through. Don’t put things off. Procrastination is the silent killer. If you want to start over in any aspect of your life, act now. Life is short.

 Simplify Your Life

Life is complicated, but starting over means you can choose to simplify. If you had to start again, what would you keep that works right now? What direction would you want to go in? What small steps could you take? What would you choose to do and who would you choose to do it with? What would you add to or remove from your schedule? What habits or routines would you change or reinforce? What relationships would you invest in?

A great way to come out of the fire is to make a list of who and what you’re grateful for. Celebrate the day for what it is and look to the future. As Socrates said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but building the new.” Whatever you’re dealing, know that lessons are coming and better days lie ahead. Listen to the latest episode of “It’s a Good Life” to hear more.

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