How to thrive even when things don’t turn out as planned

The last two weeks I’ve share with you The Soul-Quieting Power of Purpose as a way to find lasting happiness through personal fulfillment and encouraged you to Take the $32 Million Challenge to discover your purpose if you had not solidified that in your mind yet. Hopefully you’re now well on your way to enjoying a meaningful life through this passionate pursuit.

Now let’s talk about the road ahead.

I wish I could tell you it’s going to be easy.

That simply by knowing where you’re headed everything will somehow line up and work in your favor to help you quickly achieve it.

Turns out gravity is a universal law.

Friction, opposition, and a stony pathway likely lie ahead even with your newfound mental clarity. We know this to be true. Great challenges always mark the way to worthy goals.

What I have to share today is how not to get discouraged when things don’t turn out exactly the way you had planned. Because they likely won’t given all the moving pieces in your life.

Discouragement is your greatest enemy.

This is something I’ve had to learn the hard way as a filmmaker. I remember how disheartened I would get when production challenges would change what was beautifully written in the script. Or when my editor would slash a scene completely out because it didn’t move the story forward. All along the way the film would morph and change into a completely different thing from where I had originally intended.

For years this process distressed me, until I learned the secret of the three films.

You can use this concept in your life to handle unexpected twists and turns. Entrepreneurs will especially find this helpful.

See, whenever you create a film, you actually create three.

There’s the film that you script. This is a beautiful film full of possibilities and purity. It has hope and promise and in our minds this script has been worked over so well it feels flawless.

Then come the challenges of production. Just like life, things don’t go the way they were scripted. There are changes to accommodate for the change in weather, or the actors respond with a different performance than you had anticipated, or you run out of time or budget to actually film a scene. The lightning presents problems and sometimes you have to settle for a secondary location or different prop or wardrobe choice.

All along the way you make adjustments.

Are these compromises? Yes, but they’re also necessary in order for the story to live. With a rigid adherence to the script there’s the high likelihood the story will never even see the light of day. Stick only to the script and you may have a stillbirth on your hands.

Stories are really like living, breathing creatures. Seasoned creatives know the best thing you can do for your story is to not force it but rather allow it to take shape on its own.

The production process used to distress me to no end until I learned that the story you film is actually a completely new film in and of itself. If you allow that film to have its own personality and you allow it the freedom to divert into unexpected new paths, you can enjoy witnessing the beautiful creation process.

Film number two is the story you actually film.

You should know a movie is never the work of just one person. There are actors and gaffers and art directors. You’ve got a cinematographer, a producer, a director and a host of other talented people who come together to make this possible. Each contributor will have their own ideas and thoughts on how they see it going. Good directors will promote cross-collaboration and freedom of expression so the best ideas always rise to the top.

When you allow yourself to view film number two as a wholly unique film, you open the story up to new possibilities that were never attainable when solely in the hands of the script writer.

Film number two is a dynamic film fueled by collaboration.

It’s pure, frenzied energy.

And it’s wonderful.

Then there’s film number three. This is the film that actually gets edited. This is the one that gets streamlined and compacted. Each shot, each scene gets analyzed to make sure it moves the story forward and engages audiences. Each performance gets evaluated for the qualities they bring. Distractions are removed. Music is added as are special effects and the magic of color grading.

This is the finished film. The one everyone will see and (hopefully) love and adore.

But film number three would never exist without film number two.

And film number two would never happen without first the sacrifice of film number one.

Each one plays a part in bringing the next film out. Each has it’s own dynamic energy of creation. Each can be enjoyed for both the challenges and opportunities they bring.

As you pursue your path to purpose please keep this in mind. Don’t let changes and new ideas to frighten you. Don’t be too ridged by sticking only with what was originally intended. Allow your path to open up and wind before you. And most of all, enjoy the journey.

I know too many entrepreneurs who get discouraged when what was scripted becomes impossible without adjustments or they become paralyzed with fear in such a way that progress completely halts.

You are the director of your life. Take the best ideas and move them forward. Connect with others who can help guide you and add valuable new ideas to your plans. Remove distractions and beware of deterrents. Whatever stage you’re at right now will not be the final stage. Allow yourself to see this stage as a preparatory stage and continue forward until you reach the next stage and the next.

In this world you have a contribution only you can make. It’s your purpose; your life’s work. Remember, though, you will make that contribution every day all along the way. Enjoy the creative process.

Take Action

Want to see a film right now? Enjoy this free 7min film I helped create about a woman who got back up when Life knocked her down. It’s the true story of Meg Johnson, her fall from a 40′ cliff, and her amazing rise to purpose.

Click here to watch Falling Up.

Purpose Statement

I have one purpose only. To inspire you to consistently spend ten minutes each day in deliberate mental focus, then intentionally participate in a growth-stretching activity. You will change your life.

Originally published at