Have you ever reached a point in life where you stop, look around and wonder how the hell you got where you’re standing? 

I watched the news not too long ago, eyes wide open, scanning between the main screen and the rolling words along the bottom. In what appeared to be a CGI scene from an apocalyptic movie, a ring of fire had formed in the Gulf of Mexico. This bubbling eye of fire, as they were calling it, was the result of a pipeline burst, which poses plenty of questions we all must be asking – of ourselves, our governments, and our heads of business. 

A recent podcast guest of mine, award-winning entrepreneur, author, and Founder of Aqua-Guard Spill Response, Nigel Bennett, works to protect water, something this latest tragedy proves the need for. This incident and our conversation sparked a deeper meaning that I wanted to explore.

Learning from History to Avoid Living It

Nigel, who grew up in his father’s shadow, saw plenty dealing with oil, coastlines and dirty business. As a young adult, he decided pretty early on that he would steer clear of the ethical mishaps he had witnessed and forge his own path. This was a choice made as a result of his resilience. For Nigel, having his father kidnapped and jailed was enough to show him how important it was to do good in the world. And as he told me this incredible story, I wondered about myself and my own children. Did I instill in them enough resiliency that they too could forge their own path, especially when life got tough? And what about me? Do I have what it takes to pause and then pivot because I know it’s the ethical and right thing to do? 

Speaking of the Pause…

When we don’t ever stop, pause, reflect, ask tough questions, and check our guts – so to speak – we end up floating through life. We find ourselves 10 years into something and all of the sudden, something causes us to stop, and in that forced moment of clarity we’re looking around wondering how the hell we got there in the first place. And if it weren’t for the neon sign or the tragedy or the upheaval, you most likely wouldn’t have paused at all. Which means you undoubtedly miss the opportunity to pivot. 

The question I want to ask you is this: Are we ethically responsible? Are you ethically responsible? Not for the ocean, but for your life, your path, your decisions? Your resilience? Are you choosing what you know is right and good and purposeful for you? And if you aren’t, what would it take for you to pivot? Nigel pointedly told me that we are designed to do only the things that align with our life’s purpose and it fired me up. When the ocean is through burning, when the masks are history – where will you be? 

Like my own life, Nigel’s life experienced a huge shift when he separated from his father’s business and went out on his own. This pivot gave him pause, and he decided to become part of a solution. But there isn’t always a huge shift or red flag or sign on the side of the road. And if there isn’t, it is so easy to miss that pivot over and over and over again. This isn’t the first time the ocean has been on fire. This isn’t the first time we’re experiencing global-wide shifts in health or illness. This won’t be the last.

It’s hard to say to someone in crisis that the crisis is what brings the good change, but we see this truth play out so often. And this is because of resilience. 

“I look back at the time my father was incarcerated and I remember being so distraught. But if that hadn’t happened, I would have never split away and built my own business.” – Nigel Bennett

One Last Thought

The essence of resilience is about recovery. People think the essence of resilience is endurance but it’s not, it’s recovery. That’s research-based. So I want you to think about how you can make time today to pause, to reflect, to be in recovery – because this is where resilience comes from – and this is how you can mentally and emotionally land in a place where you can take purposeful action, instead of a constant cycle where life forced you into a pause and then you’re wondering (again) how you got where you’re standing.

Let me know in the comments below what your pausing revealed.