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My theory is that we get to choose what we plan to learn in the lifetime we’re given.  We’re handed a little clip board, one of those tiny golf pencils, a piece of paper, and we check off the lesson boxes.  I checked off:  “Unconditional Love”, “Adventure”, “Betrayal”, “Forgiveness”, and “Joy”.  I chose “Loss”, “Bliss” and “Pain”.  In fact, I checked off a whole multitude of things, namely to really live.

I skipped the fine print, signed on the dotted line, and here I am experiencing all that I am!  I chose the journey. In signing the cosmic contract, I agreed to take responsibility for what shows up in my life.  In essence, it’s all good; for my own good. For my own learning.

What it allows is for is my higher self to grow as deeply as possible with an opportunity to gain unparalleled wisdom.  And, I’m given ample opportunity to respond to every lesson with optimism.  This theory is super easy to apply when things are flowing smoothly in my life; not so easy when I hit turbulence.

Yesterday, it was much more than a little turbulence.  Yesterday, I crashed and burned. I spent the day in the hospital, I had a miscarriage, and I cursed the contract.  I wanted to pull the curtain, run past the emergency room doctor, rummage frantically through the drawers at home – and burn it!

Instead, I chose to cry and pound my fists.   I asked “why” to the same question I’ve posed too many times. As my hormone levels plummeted, I felt alone and sideswiped, and pulled into an undercurrent of grief.

Tonight, on deadline, I’m writing to you.  And as I write, I’m gifted a new perspective – that the essence of who I am hasn’t changed.  I will not be mothering the baby I saw in our future, but I still feel hope and peace and optimism about the future.  I’m writing to you to remind you that your pain (like mine) might blind you temporarily and you may lose sight of your beauty and talent and genius, but that it’s “ok”…because it’s temporary. Despite how you may be feeling about your present circumstances, the essence of who you are, hasn’t changed any more than mine has.

And so, at 2:08am, I challenge you to focus on the essence of who you are.  Lift your head high and decide how you will respond to the challenges before you.  You’re not defined by your job title, net worth, or by what others think or say about you.  This includes those closest to you: colleagues, family, or friends.  I’m asking you to be open to the possibility that everything is part of the plan.  If you are, then you can take measured steps toward the next chapter.  You always get to choose how you will respond.

As for the contributors of this issue, they’ve suggested optimism is a good choice.  I agree that pairing optimism with hope will anchor it internally – deeply – so that nothing external can ever touch it.  Choose it and, like General Rick Hillier (pg. 10), Canadian Fashion Designer Linda Lundström (pg. 27), Canadian Olympian Silken Laumann (pg. 61), and Buddy Valastro, the Cake Boss himself (pg. 54), you will achieve success on levels you never imagined!

Learn to communicate with brevity as suggested by Chris Brogan (pg. 16), live what you believe like Gina Rudan (pg. 50), and then commit yourself, like Maegan Carberry (pg. 46), to challenging the status quo.  Like Paul Boynton (pg. 36), promise yourself to respond to every opportunity presented with a resounding “yes”; refusing, like Justin Hines, to be limited by the baggage you carry (pg. 70).  Build global client loyalty as outlined by Mark C. Thompson (pg. 33) and change your financial set-point like T. Harv Eker (pg. 20).  Recognize, like Scott Frederick, the co-relation between business success and social marketing (pg. 41) and strive, like Cirque du Soleil’s Debra Brown, for that which is invisible (pg. 67). Entertain the possibility that things are unfolding exactly as they’re meant to, even when you’re experiencing pain and you’ve fully lost your way.  Embrace an optimistic outlook and be willing to shift your perspective to gain new insight. Most of all, enjoy this issue, I absolutely loved creating it.

You are remarkable and beautiful and talented beyond measure.

As always, I believe in you.  You only have today.