The people who meet me often ask why I live in California now, given that I was born in the UK and lived latterly in London. I always answer directly and explain that although I love the UK and all that London has to offer (an amazing public transport system, every kind of cuisine and leisure pursuit, good healthcare), I don't like the weather.
I sometimes joke that it rains 6 days a year in Los Angeles whereas it rained 6 days a week in London. Of course, it doesn't rain 6 days a week in London though it often felt that way and every time I scheduled a BBQ for a weekend in the summer, it would rain and we'd end up huddled inside trying to cook all of the food in an oven while watching the puddles collect where we should have been enjoying iconic summer Pimm's cocktails. Ah, the London summer of 2008!
I think people in the UK seem to have an inherent interest in the weather patterns and it's something I can't shake. One of my friends recently laughed when I showed them the Weather app on my iPhone and they saw that I had 20 pre-set locations (it's the maximum, otherwise I might have added more). I like to know what the weather is going to be doing in any places I'm near and any places I'm heading to on upcoming trips.
As I spend my working week helping people understand how they can change their behavior to get the results that they truly want, and in the spirit of my company's mantra, to make their lives amazing, I work with all sorts of people in many different professions across the world. Each time I visit a new place, armed with the local weather information, I watch to see how people change their behavior because of the weather there.
In Mexico, where I recently spent a week helping people transform their lives in an immersive five day session, the tropical rain poured down every afternoon and people arranged their schedules to avoid this intense, natural occurrence. In London, where I recently spent a weekend, the snow flakes fluttered through the sky in what might have become a winter wonderland and the streets emptied at first before filling up again as people found delight in the glory of the first snow of the winter season. And back at home, near the ocean in Santa Monica, the sun beat down on the City of Angels as t-shirts and shorts littered the sidewalks and frozen drinks were consumed to combat the intense heat.
When we're in control of our lives, we know that we should also be in control of our emotional state. Successful people don't blame the world for their troubles, they take ownership and accountability and use that as a positive starting point to learn lessons and move on. When I walk out in the rain - wherever I am in the world - I know that I might get wet but that it doesn't need to change me. Sure, it changes the appearance of my hair and maybe my clothes look different while they are wet, but inherently, I'm still physically the same inside. And there's an important lesson there for us to take away, aside from checking the weather and being prepared by taking your umbrella, a sweater or shorts, depending on where you're headed.
Bad things happen to us all the time. Something might go wrong at work, we might receive an unexpected bill in the post, a relationship might break down, a family member may disappoint, your car might not start, you may not get the promotion you had your heart set on, your dog might chew through your new TV remote and so on.
Of course these things impact us. We spend a lot of time at work, we work hard for our money and don't want it wasted, we invest time in building relationships with family, friends and lovers. However, the extent to which these situations can impact us is a choice. It's no different from walking outside in the rain and getting wet. We can decide how much these situations impact us and whether they affect how successful we might be for the rest of our lives. We can choose whether we let these experiences change us mentally or we can choose to be resilient.
I can remember times in the past when it has rained on days that I needed it to remain dry, but just because I can remember those times, it doesn't mean that I let those occasions dictate my happiness now or how successful I will be in the future.
And it's the same with the events that happen in your life, whether good or bad. Remember them, ride the wave of personal power that comes from the good ones and take a positive lesson from the negative events, and then carry on with your life rather than be bogged down by the emotional baggage that might otherwise come from these events.
When you're in charge of your life, you can accept that even if you do everything in your power to make things go your way, sometimes they won't. And being resilient and taking a lesson from such a situation is a positive thing to do that will help you in the future rather than hold you back and prevent you from achieving everything you would otherwise achieve.
So when you next get wet from that unexpected rain, remember that your clothes will dry out and you'll be able to check your hair and get yourself back on track. And if you choose to look at it that way, when something unexpected happens in your life that changes your course or delays you from achieving your goal, you can dry off and get yourself back on track without having to carry that around for the rest of your life. And if you want to, you can use that as an enabler for successful change and even if you don't move half way across the world, maybe you'll find a way to take something positive from it.
Apparently, there's an opportunity to see rain as a way to live more successfully, even if it did dampen my London BBQ that weekend in August 2008.
Rob Whitfield is the CEO and Founder of One Brit, No Bull, a coaching and corporate training company based in Los Angeles and operating worldwide. Rob can be contacted here or on (+1) 518 9NO BULL.
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As well as being an experienced management consultant and energetic public speaker, Rob Whitfield is a certified Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a certified Master Coach and a certified Master Practitioner of Hypnotherapy and Time Line Therapy. No Bull.