Turn the narrative around

A negative turn of events is not inherently bad. A positive turn of events is not inherently good.

You ought to be able to see the good in the bad as well as the bad in the good. Not to be detached from reality. Not to be problem child or the naïve dreamer. Not to stay away from grief and joy at all costs. But to be able to appreciate the power that you have to turn the narrative around.


There are so many variables in any open position, in any grant available, in any reward you might be pursuing, that it is actually more surprising when you succeed than when you fail.

And by the way, neither success nor failure is a reliable measure of your worth.

The sooner you get used to it, the more you can focus on building your own measure.

When times are tough

The surest and fastest way to get unstuck is to bring in a different perspective.

A therapist, a coach, a colleague from another team, a mentor who’s been there before, your partner, a friend, a business advisor, a marketing agency, a freelancer.

Make that connection when times are tough.

Actually, make the connection when times are good so that you can leverage it when times are tough.

Hitting a wall

When a plan hits a wall, two questions can help.

What do I know today that I did not know when I came up with the plan? This will tell you if the conditions have changed, if the stop came because of that, if there are shifting forces that you underestimated. It tells you whether the general direction is still valid.

To what degree do I still believe in the original plan? This will tell you if you are still committed or if it’s time for a change instead. It help you stay clear from easy, short-term fixes, and it tells you whether it’s worth it to try once more.

Rest assured, most plans hit a wall at some point.


You always have something to learn.

Even when you are on top of your game, even when you have been around for decades, even when you are the number 1. There is always something more, or something else.

Keep your senses alert. Not because you should not rest or because you should always stress, but because there are still opportunities to learn something new.

And that’s the essence of life.