I had one week left to prepare for an important event where I would be presenting some critical information about a business deal to some very important people. A knot would tighten in my gut each time I thought about it, but I consciously did my best to breathe deeply and relax, knowing the best outcome would happen, if I could only stay in a peaceful mindset.
The night before the presentation I wasn’t quite prepared, and I knew it, not for lack of trying, but merely for lack of time. I stayed up most of the night putting together the last of my research, trying to line it up to be a cohesive, logical persuasion for those who would be making a decision the next day. How well I did at the meeting could mean the difference between thousands of dollars down the tubes, or putting us potentially more than $100,000 ahead within 2 more months.
Not long before I was to speak at the meeting, I was given some new information about others who would be in the room whom I had not expected, which added to my pressure. Besides allowing myself to become overly concerned with ‘what should I wear?!’ I also had to be concerned with whether or not my equipment would work properly, with no time to test it thoroughly first.
As the meeting began, I knew I had done all I could possibly do to prepare. I had to trust that my best would be good enough, and that my faith in God would help make up for my human deficiencies. It would have to; there was nothing more I could do.
While I intellectually relied on God to make it all ‘okay’, I couldn’t seem to quiet my stressed-out, frantic heart. I was flustered, lost my train of thought frequently, and basically ‘blew it’. The opportunity to secure $100,000 slipped through my fingers as I pushed myself to just get through the meeting and finish saying what I went there to say.
I felt sick inside. What more could I have done? I had given it everything I had. I knew the principles. I knew that ‘when something is really, really horrible, it is in actuality really, really phenomenal,’ but no matter how hard I tried to think right, I couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that it had been a disaster, and nothing more.
I tried to call my mentor to help me get my head back on straight, because I knew that was critical if I hoped to glean whatever benefit there was out of the situation. I HAD to think right, for I knew that my future circumstances depended on it. However, I couldn’t get through, and my messages were never returned.
Finally, I thought of an old friend of mine whom I knew would understand and could help. Why I didn’t think of her first, I’m not sure. I gave her a call, and she laughed with me as I told her how pathetic the meeting had been, and after I had let it all out, she told me one thing that made all the difference.
She said, ‘Leslie, the meeting was perfect. You did your best, and everything that needed to be said was said in just the right way. Those people heard just what they needed to hear, and anyway, who do you think YOU are to decide what should and shouldn’t have been said?’
I knew she was right. I had done my best to prepare, and I had turned it over to God. So who DID I think I was, to pass judgment on what God made of it? Suddenly, I began to consider that maybe my mistakes were exactly what God knew would happen, and what He allowed to happen because He had some higher good in mind for me and the others involved.
Who am I to say that the deal should have happened the way I had wanted it to happen, anyway? One thing for sure, is that when something doesn’t go the way I think it should have, it’s generally because God has something even better in mind, and He is working to knock off my rough edges to prepare me to receive the very best He has to offer.
I choose to believe that.
There are a lot of things I may never know about what ripple effects came out of that meeting. I have since been made aware of some very important ones that did. But if nothing more, it has given me a new tool for the times I am struggling to feel better about a bad situation. I tell myself now, ‘It’s perfect’ even when I don’t see how it possibly could be.
Even the most painful, difficult circumstances in our lives are ultimately for our good. They give us experience, they teach us right from wrong, they help us grow toward our greatest potential if we don’t fight it.
Okay, so I messed up a presentation. I don’t really have it all that bad, do I? Worse things have happened, and besides, in some way, I know that it was all for my good. I came away a little tougher, a little more compassionate, a little more trusting in God.
No matter how painful or embarrassing it was, it’s ultimately for your good and perfect for helping you reach your highest potential.
Whatever seems horrible in your life right now, you can choose to trust. Choose to believe that it’s the perfect thing for your personal development right now. As you calm down and believe this, you’ll find that doing so makes a huge difference in where your life goes from there.