You are a product of your decisions, not a product of your circumstances

Team members huddled around a table working and smiling

I lost a client. In one way shape or form, we’ve all been there at one time or another. It was a few years ago now when I was running Media Crate (permanently closed), but I remember it like it was yesterday.

It was my first “big” client and we’d worked together for quite a while. I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say that I missed the mark one too many times and the client decided to end the relationship.

This one hurt. We’d put so much into the account and had developed a great relationship but despite our best efforts, didn’t deliver.

I remember I called my wife right after getting off of the call and told her what had happened. She did her best to console me but I only had one thing in mind and that was to turn off my computer, stop working for the day, and retreat to my office to eat my feelings away.

I don’t know what sparked it but I had a thought pop in at that moment and I knew I had a choice to make. Follow what my brain was telling me to do or take evasive action. I made the choice to go for a run to one of my favorite places, the lake. I remember sitting by the water, looking out, and doing everything in my power to stop feeling sorry for myself.

I vaguely remembered a quote that I saw on an Instagram post sometime earlier and quickly reached for my phone to try and search for it.

“I am not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions.” This quote hit me like a ton of bricks and immediately I knew what I had to do. I had already made one right choice (getting outside, going for a run), and now I had to make the next one. The choice was simple, dust this one off, learn from this really tough lesson and keep going. I told myself that I would never put myself in that position again.

I jogged back home, turned on my computer, and got back to work.

I can’t remember what happened after this, but I knew that I didn’t want to play the victim. One client wasn’t going to dictate the future of my company. I knew that in time, the wound would heal and I’d be better equipped to handle situations like this in the future.

I wrote the quote down on six sticky notes and posted them to my whiteboard, where they still live to this day.

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.

When I sit down each day, I know I have to make the choice to show up. My business will thrive because of the decisions I make each day. I vowed never to play the victim again but instead, look to how I can use each experience as an opportunity to grow.

Needless to say, I’m glad I went for that run that day.

What’s one lesson you learned the hard way that has shaped your business and or life for the better?

Let me know in the comments.

View of Lake Ontario

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Marquis Murray

Hi, I’m Marquis, the Founder of Ditto, where we create clarity around the work done inside of organizations through creating SOPs and work management solutions.