Turn Setbacks into Springboards

Turn Setbacks Into Springboards

The one thing I love about New Years is that it is a time to start over.  OK, you failed at your diet in 2011.  Instead of weight-loss it was weight-found, no problem.  Start over.  You didn’t make the top ten agents in the US, your State, your office or your solo brokerage, no problem.  You get another chance.  You didn’t make the top 30 under 30 list, no problem.  There’s always the top 40 under forty list.  Begin again.

We all need points in our lives where we get another chance.  You can let life’s failings derail and wreck your life, or you can pick yourself up and dust yourself off and start over.  When the economy crashed in September of 2008 my stock portfolio literally disappeared.  I had traded over 600 trades that year and was on my way to an early retirement.  My first impression on seeing the news was, “Wow, that really sucks!”  That was pretty much it.

It drives my wife crazy because I don’t go crazy when things like that happen.  It wouldn’t make a bit of difference if I did, but what I will do when I have more time in the office is re-establish all of my former brokerage accounts, and I will start again.  I know now, that you cannot be a trader like I was and be away from the markets for days on end.  If you do, you could end up with a negative balance in your account, and you can owe more than you invested in the stock market.  Lesson learned.

That’s just one example, but we’ve all had setbacks.  We’ve all been hit so hard that we didn’t think we could recover.  Maybe it was a divorce.  Maybe it was a business partner who ran off with all of the money.  Maybe it was the loss of a loved one, the end of a friendship or the alienation of a relationship.  It happens to all of us, but what we do with the pain will determine if the past controls the future. 

There are things you can do when you have setbacks that can help you not only get back on track, but they can put you on a better track.

  • What did you do wrong, if anything, in the failure?  In my day-trading days I know that I have to stay engaged all the time. You can’t leave a half a million dollars on a park bench and assume it will be there when you get back.  It most likely will not.  Lesson learned.
  • What could you have done differently?  In a friendship relationship, it might be best not to spend too much time with a friend.  There is balance between what is healthy and what is unhealthy.  You can feel it down deep inside when it starts to turn unhealthy.  Listen to that inner voice.
  • Don’t set unrealistic goals and expectations.  Saying you’re going to lose 50 lbs is a great goal if you need to, but it might be a bit overwhelming if you have a couple setbacks early.  Set smaller achievable goals.  When you meet them, they will inspire you to go just a little bit further.  Each success fuels the next success.
  • Talk less and listen more.  I was in a salvage yard years ago listening to a man blowing off about something.  Everyone was starring at him.  The poor guy behind the counter was making a host of apologies for whatever had offended the guy, but nothing would appease him.  Finally, the counterman asked me, “Mr. Cooper, what do you think?”  I simply said what was on my mind, “A fool is known by the multitude of his words.”  The place went silent, and the bloviator left.  Problem solved for those of us listening. The company wasn’t ever going to pacify him.  So, offending him was not a problem.  Listen more, talk less.
  • Approach some issues more slowly.  I’m a very fast moving person.  I make decisions very rapidly.  It’s unnerving for some around me, but most issues have the answer peeking out of the issue.  If you’re paying attention, you will see it.  Some do not.  In those cases, you need to proceed slowly.  If you’re unsure about something, take your time.

Everyone faces setbacks at some point.  How you deal with them will determine if they have a hidden value or a heart full of pain.  Sometimes, they may have both, but in it all you can still grow and become a much wiser better person.


The 10 Hour Cycling Event is Almost Here. Come Join Us!

The 10 Hour Cycling Event is Almost Here. Come Join Us!

The troops are lined up and ready for duty.  The room is quiet, but it’s about to get really loud.  Before you know it, dozens of people will be filtering in and out and progress will be made.  The 10 hour Cycling Challenge is less than two weeks away, and we’re ready for you.

The Valley Health Wellness and Fitness Center is sponsoring it’s second marathon cycling event March 9Th from 7:30 am – 5:30 pm.  The beneficiary will be the Angel Trust Fund at the Winchester Medical Center.  The fund benefits qualified patients who are currently receiving treatment at the oncology department of Winchester Medical Center.

That help can come in a myriad of ways, but it’s always deserving and always needed.  Join us for a day of indoor cycling, great camaraderie, exercise and reach out a helping hand to those in our community who are in the battle of their life.  You can join a team, ride solo for an hour or more or you can drop by and donate and cheer the riders on.

One special feature this year is guest musician, Ted Garber.  Ted is an international performing artists who has graciously accepted our offer to join in the fun.  He will be there to encourage and inspire the riders throughout part of the event, and you won’t want to miss him.  All of the details are at: Come Join Me March 9Th to Help Some Cancer Patients Win Their Battle.

We’ll see you there!


This is a test . . . Please stop what you’re doing and take this test.

This is a test . . . Please stop what you’re doing and take this test. It won’t take long.

This is a test.  It’s only a test.  If it were an actual event your arms would be burning and you would have a headache right now.  Here’s the test.  Take two cans of soup, and stand with your arms extended straight out shoulder height with one can of soup in each hand.  OK, got it.  I’ll wait while you do the test.  Go ahead.  No really, give it a try.

How long were you able to stand with your arms fully extended with a can of soup in each hand?  A typical can of soup weighs around 10 3/4 ozs.  Less than a pound.  How long could you do it?  Most people are not going to be able to do it very long.  Even though the weight is insignificant, over time it becomes heavier and heavier until your muscles collapse under the pressure of a 10 3/4 oz can of soup.
Now, let’s translate that into stress.  How much stress can you carry on a daily basis before you collapse?  Your level might seem insignificant to you, but you might be surprised.  I don’t think my life is overly stressful, but a decade ago I got a real wake-up call about stress.

I got up at my normal 5:00 am time and went to the gym to teach a Spinning® class.  We had our typical workout.  It’s always somewhere between moderate to hard if you’re working out with me.  I do my lighter workouts when I exercise alone.  I came home and took a shower, ate breakfast, read the paper and lost my memory.

I didn’t realize anything was unusual until my wife asked a question that I couldn’t answer.  “Who was in your cycling class this morning?”  “Did I teach a cycling class this morning?”  She looked at me like I was nuts.  I’ve seen that look before.  So she asked another question, and I didn’t know the answer.  She asked if I was kidding her.  I guess it’s like a gentleman who was about to have brain surgery.  His doctor called his wife in for a consultation prior to the surgery on her husband and said, “There is a chance that he may have brain damage.”  To which she responded, “How would we know?”

My wife thought I was kidding.  Finally, she realized that I didn’t know a lot of events that had happened in the previous 6 months.   I was taken to the hospital and found that I had transient global amnesia.

What caused it?  The cause was labeled as stress.  I didn’t feel like I was under stress, but an outsider looking in would have thought I was under a great amount of stress.  I had gotten so accustomed to holding my cans of soup straight out that I didn’t even notice they were getting heavy, but my body and my brain did.
How long can you hold the two cans of soup before your body gives in and demands that you drop them?  My experience led to more time off, less work on the weekends, shorter more realistic days, more exercise, better diet and more leisure activities.  I haven’t had a brain dump since then, but it was a great eye-opener for me and my family.  How long can you hold your cans of soup?

Ted Garber joins the 10 Hour Cycling Challenge – March 9, 2013

The 10 Hour Cycling Challenge at the Valley Health Wellness and Fitness Center is proud to welcome Ted Garber for an hour of fun and music during the event.  Ted has graciously accepted our invitation to share his musical talents with our hardworking participants.

Ted is an accomplished recording artist who I’ve had the privilege of hearing in person, and he is awesome.  Let me share an expert from Ted’s bio to give you a feel for his musical style:

Ushering in a new golden age of live entertainment is Ted Garber, a genre-bending multi-instrumentalist whose “BluesAmericanaRock” combines classic showmanship with a captivating singer-songwriter sensibility. His smokey, bluesy vocals, howling harmonica riffs and screaming guitar licks are enticing audiences worldwide, taking us on a diverse musical journey from the Big Apple to the Big Easy, hovering in the Mississippi Delta before heading South of the Border.

Ted is this and more, and you won’t want to miss his time with us Saturday, March 9, 2013.  Ted will be performing between 11:30 – 12:30 at the 10 Hour Cycling Challenge to benefit the Angel Trust Fund at the Winchester Medical Center.  Be sure to sign up for a bike today and contribute to the Angel Trust Fund.

Ted will entertain you, and you will help save a life in the process.  Does it get any better than that?  Drop by Ted’s website to get more information on his music, concert schedule and his history.  This is building up to be an awesome event.  You won’t want to miss it!

Enjoy a little Ted Garber Music – and get ready for a great day of cycling, music and fun.