The “swing at the end of the world” is located in the mountains outside of Baños, Ecuador. How do I know? I’ve been there, but it wasn’t planned. I was on a mission trip in Ecuador when a rockslide closed my group’s main route through the mountains and forced us to take a five-hour detour. I was really frustrated; it was not part of the plan and we had already been traveling for 10 hours. But what happened on that detour turned out to be some of the greatest memories of the entire trip.
When we learned we had to make a detour, our guide, trying his hardest to make it better for all of us, called ahead to get us access to this famous swing. My daughter and I quickly researched the place and saw this swing was on a list of the “top 10 things to do before you die.” We had stumbled upon one of the most amazing experiences in the world.
How often do we have this same response when things change in our lives? Perhaps you get frustrated or become angry about how things are not going as you planned. But, suddenly, something better happens—a better job, relationship, business opportunity, etc. But how often do you stop to look back and have gratitude for the unplanned event that changed your course?
The swing at the end of the world is something I think about regularly. I’m grateful that I will have this memory for the rest of my life because something didn’t go as planned. I had a wonderful experience with my daughter that even the best planning probably would not have given us. I am grateful for what this experience taught me.
Here are the lessons from that experience that I take with me and apply to situations when things are changing and I’m uncomfortable.
1. Embrace the discomfort. Change is not comfortable, but it is necessary. You cannot become who you are supposed to be by staying exactly the same. The universe has greater plans for you, but to get to that next level, you have to break through where you are at today.
2. Don’t marry your plan. Many people tend to want to control what and when something happens because this can make the situation easier to manage. But when you let go of your tight grip on the plan, you can allow the plan to shift as opportunities arise. Have a plan, but don’t hold on so tight that you don’t see the opportunities that come your way.
3. Seek out opportunities to shift your perspective. Growth does not come from doing what you’ve always done. Growth comes from purposely shifting your perspective. Force yourself to see new things, try new things and build a life and business based on experience. Don’t wait for the perspective shift to come to you. Go in search of it.
I believe life is built on the experiences and moments that change us deep inside, not the day-to-day common occurrences. So, the next time something in your world or organization changes, once the immediate frustration or anger subsides, ask yourself two questions.
• To what other opportunities could this be leading you?
• For what is this change preparing you?
Life doesn’t happen by accident, and change isn’t fatal. Fear staying in the same place more than you fear change, and embrace the shift. You might be amazed at how it changes you and your path forward.