When my husband accepted a job that moved us to Bentonville, Arkansas, our daughter was 12 years old. We recognized the major disruption we were causing in her life, moving her from the only place she had ever lived to a place where she had never even visited until we came as a family on the traditional “are we all OK moving here” trip. And, by the way, this area had almost none of its current amenities back then.
A Bend in the Road
As we all navigated the transition, I was repeatedly impressed with her resilience, even when the going was rough. Being prone to placing items I hope will bring encouragement in front of those I care about, I bought a framed photo of a car coming toward a hairpin turn in the road, with beautiful scenery all around it. Printed in attractive font over the image were these words: “A bend in the road is not the end of the road … Unless you fail to make the turn.”
Every once in a while, I would point out that saying to her. Usually it was as an affirmation of the brilliance with which she was handling whatever challenge she was facing. I’ll admit that it was also sometimes during moments when I questioned her approach and believed that she was failing to make the turn, so to speak.
More than I would like to admit, I sometimes read those words in an effort to get myself on track as I struggled with my own transition. I had also moved to a place where I had no previous acquaintances. And I left a career that I only then realized had become such a huge part of my identity.
Navigating 2020 Hasn’t Been Easy
2020 has proven to be a road with some doozy turns that none of us saw coming. I have been reminded of the words from that framed photo several times recently. As I sat down to write this post, I decided to find out if the statement I keep recalling has been attributed to anyone in particular or if “unknown” would be the author I would find. I honestly didn’t even know whether or not it was a famous quote. I would not have been surprised to not even find it in my online search.
What a nice surprise to find Helen Keller identified as the source of the wisdom! Wow, I feel encouraged even more by it now. She not only couldn’t see things coming, she couldn’t hear them either. Yet, she found her way with such remarkable success. I hope her words inspire and encourage you, as a leader worth following, the way they do me.
A bend in the road is not the end of the road … Unless we fail to make the turn.
Written by: Sandy Tush, Partner – Milestone Leadership