Have you played Snakes & Ladders recently?

Have you played Snakes & Ladders recently?

I heard news this week of a close friend who against the odds had a fantastic achievement in a competitive situation. I say against the odds – in truth they’ve been working diligently in 3 key areas over the past 10 years and were prepared. However, when the opportunity presented itself they through themselves into it with heart and soul and 200 hundred odd competitors – and came out on top.  They still can’t believe it and are floating around on cloud nine.

I’ve also heard this week of a talented, hard-working individual who’s lost their job through no fault of theirs. A sister company needs some cash to survive and this person is one of a number of people who have been sacrificed. A horrible exercise for the business owner but worse for the individuals concerned.

We shouldn’t really be that surprised by these stories.  Despite who we are and what we do, good stuff happens and not so good stuff happens. Life is a mixture of opportunities and difficulties. Its just how its been set up. Sometimes there are more opportunities than difficulties and sometimes more difficulties than opportunities.

It reminds me of a game of snakes and ladders with 2 slight differences.

We will slide down the difficult snakes of life and be dumped at the bottom. The question is what we do next. Do we sit and moan and complain and make excuses and blame other people? Or do we pick ourselves up and ‘roll again’?

We will find ourselves at the bottom of opportunity ladders. Do we roll on past because it’s easier and more comfortable? Or do we do the harder thing of climbing the ladder?

There’s another advantage of moving away from the bottom of our snake difficulty. It gives us perspective. It allows us to look back and take the lessons – there’s always a lesson if we take time to reflect. We’ll also often see that it’s the difficult times that made us – that forged and refined our character. That gave us strength, resilience, determination, imagination, open-mindedness, compassion for others in similar circumstances, etc.

It’s also true that we’ll see more opportunity ladders the more prepared we are and the more we stop and lift our gaze.  Continually burying ourselves in the minutiae of every day life isn’t a good thing.

So, life is a mixture of difficulties and opportunities – snakes and ladders. It may not be fair but that’s just how it is – let’s make the most of whatever comes our way.

Two lines come to mind:  “…there is neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so…” and “…if you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same….you’ll be a Leader my daughter!”

There won’t be any miss-quoted Kipling or Shakespeare at my next seminar on Wednesday 28th October – just good, practical, proved ideas to help you develop a thriving business/organisation. I’d love to see you there – it’s a small ‘getting prepared’ opportunity ladder!


Mark Dyble