Sometimes It Zigs... Sometimes It Zags

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

Football again…    this past weekend held the championship games to determine which two teams were headed to the Superbowl. My Colts lost last weekend, so technically I had no skin in the game, but I did have two teams that I hoped would win. Neither did.

One could argue that the Saints lost because of an incredibly obvious missed call of pass interference. I feel pretty confident they would have won the game if not for that. One could also argue that the Chiefs would have won if they had won the coin toss in overtime and gotten the ball first… instead, they never even had a chance. (I hate that rule, btw)

Both games, then, one could argue, came down to chance.  To luck.

Now, I say this every year but I’ll say it again.  I hate it when playoff games are blowouts, with one team completely dominating the other—to me, that means that the right teams have not actually made it to this moment.  I love it when playoff games are knock-out, drag-out, race-to-the-finish nail biters…. THAT tells me that right teams have made it there. This past weekend both games went into overtime. The right teams were there.

But again, you could argue that the winner of both games was decided by luck rather than talent. You could argue.

And I just wonder how often that happens in life. We can do everything right. We can be fully prepared. We can be as ready for the game as we’ve ever been. We can have the plan, the playlist, the support system, the crowd cheering us on. We can have all the things pointing us to a big solid capital W.

But then some stroke of bad luck.  Some unexpected turn of fate. Something zigs when we were expecting a zag.

I meant to send this to you yesterday. But I was flying to NYC, and first we were delayed, and then the plane broke, and then LaGuardia wouldn’t let us land. The universe kept zigging, when my plan for the day was a very simple zag.

You can do everything right, and yet things can still go completely wrong.

The “best” doesn’t always win. The most-work-put-in doesn’t always yield the highest score. There aren’t always do-overs. As someone once said, “The map is not the territory…”

The map is not the territory. So what do we do when we’re in the territory, and it looks nothing like our map?  I've been thinking about this a lot. 

One way to look at it is we mark up a big fat L when we were expecting a sparkly golden W.  But here's another way to look at it: These moments are the the beauty of living. The majesty of life. The adventure in every moment.

Within them lies opportunity. 

The question is what we do with them.

How do you handle the zig, when you were expecting the zag?

Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.