Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Playing the Hand You’re Dealt

by Janet M. Shlaes
As we move through our lives, we are regularly faced with a myriad of what I refer to as “opportunities for growth.” These "opportunities," although often highly challenging, force us to make choices regarding our values, mindset, relationships and actions. Currently, a dear friend is facing one of these challenges, one in which it would be perfectly understandable to feel immobilized. I found my friend's response to be extremely wise and inspirational, exemplifying the inherent ambiguity in living a fully engaged life. When faced with this immediate challenge, my dear friend responded: “All I can do is play the hand I’ve been dealt.”

Ultimately, playing the hand that we're dealt is an empowering option in most any situation.   Recognizing and understanding this “hand” is the first step toward optimally playing it. This does not mean that we shift into a victim mode, passively allowing the situation to play itself out. Playing the hand you’re dealt, essentially means to utilize your available resources (both internal and external) to set goals and operate within the parameters and/or limitations of your current situation. It means engaging others as advocates and allies when needed and gathering all of the relevant information that’s currently available. It’s about co-creating a viable strategy to move forward, doing whatever is in your power to do, having a clear outcome vision in mind and then letting go of attachment to the outcome. Sometimes, playing the hand you’re dealt also means being fully present in each moment and focusing on one step at a time.

Playing the hand you’re dealt is a healthy and empowering strategy for moving through life, especially when faced with a crisis situation that appears to come out of nowhere. Viktor E. Frankl, author of “Man’s Search for Meaning” said it much more eloquently that I can:

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Here’s to strategically playing the hands we're dealt and to our collective growth, wisdom and freedom!


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