Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

Would you have ever guessed that life would bring you to the moment that you’re in? Life never turns out as expected, and if it had, I might have been retired on a yacht somewhere in the South Pacific. Instead, I’m working diligently to grow a business, and supporting adult children that I thought would be moved out. I was sure that, at this point, I would only have one of five children in my household, yet three of my children, plus a son-in-law and grandchild, live here too. I’m in no way complaining – I absolutely love my full household, especially the time spent with my granddaughter, but I did imagine a lot more traveling at this point in my life.

I’m sure many of you are in a similar position, whether you planned to retire and instead you’re raising grandkids – or you thought you’d never have kids and you ended up with five. Or maybe you thought you had all your children, but now you’re faced with a positive pregnancy test at age 40. Maybe you’ve been laid off of the job that was supposed to set you and your kids up for life. Everywhere around me, friends are adjusting their expectations, prolonging or changing their work, putting off retirement or redefining what retirement will mean, or even leaving work to care for children (or parents), and reevaluating what they want out of life.

How do you get through these tough moments?

It’s easy to get stuck in a negative spin when things don’t go the way you think they will, but you know what? Every single time my life has gone in an unexpected direction – divorce, move, job loss, client loss – it has turned out so much better than I’d ever imagined. So now, when I feel like things are spinning out of my control, I stop for a moment and simply be grateful. I am here. I am alive. I am fairly healthy. I have a family I love. Tomorrow, anything could happen to take me away from all that I have, but as of right now, this is the life that I have and I am grateful for it. And as long as I have the opportunity of today, there is no obstacle I can’t overcome.

Prioritize what’s important.

Rather than wonder – or regret – what might have been, I choose to focus on the present, be hopeful for the future, and make decisions now that will improve tomorrow. I am a strong advocate of work-life balance, so that I don’t finish my work-day or work-week wishing I had spent more time with my family. The dirty laundry will still be there tomorrow, and so will that detailed report that needs finished. I want to end each day knowing that I prioritized the people and relationships that are important to me.

This isn’t a revolutionary idea, and you’ve likely heard it all before from somewhere else. What I’m asking of you, is what are you doing about it? Are you internalizing the message?

I didn’t come by success and happiness by sheer luck. I chose to put my own self and my family first, to enjoy my life as it is right now, and this is the attitude that has made my business successful and my family content. I acknowledge that obstacles in my path are as much a part of life as anything else, and some things I don’t have any control over. However, by exercising good choices over what I can control in my life is how I overcome whatever adversity comes my way.

Your attitude determines your outcome.

Whether you are trying to build a business, raise a family, or get your kids through college, the right attitude will help lead to success in life. You are capable of reaching any goal, and no matter what you are trying to achieve, you have to be stubborn enough to keep going. Remember, even Thomas Edison failed a thousand times to invent a light bulb, but once he figured it out, his invention transformed the world.

So how do you get on the right path?

First, have a plan, and then accept that not everything will go according to that plan. It’s frustrating, but as a mom, you know better than anyone else how something can change in a moment. Success comes from the passion behind your choices, the flexibility to handle change, and the determination to overcome any obstacle.

I’m not where I thought I would be, but I love where I am.