But what could I have done differently?

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I have shared before about how I failed to anticipate the future properly and ended up experiencing a huge and painful failure.

This story is one where I applied some good foresight and changed the course of my life, and others, in a positive way.

Don’t worry, as you read this story. My daughter has read it and knows what we are sharing here and why.
When my oldest daughter was around 12 years old, we went through what many families do, as the young child starts to realise she is growing and tries to test her limits. In this case, I was divorced and her father lived on the other side of the country.

She and I really struggled. We could not communicate. We were always fighting. We could never find common ground to have a conversation. And she missed her father terribly.

One day, after we found we couldn’t be in the same room at the same time, I sat down to think this through. I tried an exercise called negative visualisation - kind of the opposite of positive visualisation but not in a sense of reinforcing negative beliefs but more about exploring their consequences.

I imagined what my 12 year old child might be like, as a 17 year old teenager, alienated from her mother and far from her father. There is no need to go into the scenario that sketched out in my mind’s eye - just take a moment to consider it for yourself and you will shudder, as I did.

I then imagined a conversation with her dad, at this imaginary point in the future, discussing what went wrong, and one of us saying “But what could we have done differently?”
That question was like a catalyst that generates a host of alternative present day scenarios. There are tonnes of things I could do differently. And I did them.

Mine was quite a radical change. I moved from the east to the west coast of South Africa, a great move as it turns out because, apart from a devastating drought, Cape Town is an incredible city, for all of us.

My daughter changed schools, just as she was going into high school. She made new friends. She lived a regular life with her dad nearby. She has studied music to Grade 6 and she manages water polo tables at regional school contests. And just last year she finished school with great results and is off to university this year. She and I have fun together, go out for coffee, gossip and enjoy each other’s company.

Just a little strategic foresight and a willingness to make the necessary changes, has totally removed the very real threat of what could have happened and turned our lives into something much more rewarding. Think of what it can do for your personal life, business and relationships.

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