by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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When it comes to living your life and planning out your future, an Educated Guess is as good as it gets.  There are no guarantees, and the future is promised to no one.  The best you can hope for is to learn along the way and get more educated as you walk down the path of life.  This will theoretically make your guesses more educated as you go.

Here is the good news, there is very little you cannot “undo” or redo when you are in the early stages of life.  In my example, I left college to pursue an athletic endeavor that I knew in advance was never going to make me a living, let alone rich.  Later on, I “undid” the decision to leave college by going back to school online.  I was still young enough at ag 30 to get what could be considered a late start to my working career, but I didn’t do any harm to my professional working career by doing so.  In fact, some of the things I learn in pursuit of my racquetball goals made me who I am now, and those skills helped me in the roles I pursued in the working world.  But racquetball was the one thing I was sure I wanted to do at that age, so I took the chance, knowing that:

A.  As an athlete, there is a small window of time when your body will allow you to be at your                             absolute physical best.  This cannot be delayed much if any, so do it while you can.

B.  I knew I could return to college at any time in the future.  I did, finishing through University of                   Phoenix online to get a Business Marketing degree.

C.  I knew I would learn a lot about life in the process of this journey, so I was willing to risk straying               from the “typical” path of life that so many others fall into.

So many go the safe route, high school, then college, and the corporate world,  Add in a house, a spouse and two kids along the way and by age 30ish you could say mission accomplished.  For some, this approach is what they want, and that is great.  For many, there is a desire for something more or different, but they don’t act on it.  They have been advised by family and friends and teachers to play it safe in order to secure your future.  Bad advice in my opinion…it will leave you with unanswered questions that will haunt you the rest of your life. Regret is a terrible thing, and something I have actively worked to avoid as much of as possible.  The earlier in life you take wild and crazy chances, the less penalty there is later on.  When I decided to be a Pro Racquetball Player at age 16, it was ambitious and an unlikely goal to be achieved.  If I quit my job now to do this, I would considered absolutely crazy.

I took an educated guess that I needed to pursue my racquetball goals and then I could start the rest of my life afterwards.  I never had a very clear goal for a career path in the business world, so maybe that contributes to this as well.  If I knew from the time I was a little kid that I wanted to be an architect or a doctor, then maybe I would have gone an alternative route.  But for me, none of this was crystal clear, chasing my dream of being a Pro Racquetball Player was the only thing I was sure of at that time in my life.  So I put that in motion, not knowing what I needed to know to get to that end goal.  But I had two  things in my favor that could help carry me through:  My unbending intent, and my faith in myself to figure things out along the way.

Don’t get me wrong, I had A LOT of help along the way, but at the end of the day, I had to do the work.  When I asked a better player than I for advice on how to do something differently, I still had to go on the court and practice the new way of doing things.  I had to commit to taking a step backward for a bit to go three steps forward later on.  I had to take a few losses to put myself in position for wins later.  It was an educated guess, but the more often I did it and had success, the easier it was to take this leap of faith and gain more ground, closing the gap to the Pro level.

In my current role as VP of Sales at my company, we hit some really rough times early after the inception of the company, and I really wasn’t sure that we were going to make it.  The company was struggling financially, as it was taking us longer than expected to find our way to profitability.  I knew we had an edge in the market, so I decided to stick it out.  There were plenty of times that I wanted to jump ship and go a different direction, but I made an educated guess that this might end up being what we all wanted it to be.  In some ways, we got lucky, but there is always an element of luck involved when it comes to being successful.  Economic conditions, status of competition, a smart idea of upgrade on an existing idea for the product/service and more all factor into the chance for being successful.  Some is out of your control, but some is not, and you need to manage that which is within your control as well as possible.  There were no guarantees, as there never are.  But I was in a position where I could, to some degree, roll the dice and see if things played out in my favor.  They did, and my current work/life balance is nearly as good as it could be.

When it comes to relationships, it is the same thing…an educated guess is as good as it gets.  You do not know who and and that person will become five or ten years down the road.  You SHOULD BE doing your best to pay attention to the signs and patterns this person displays and this becomes your “material” to base your educated guess upon.  If you go blindly into the relationship, only seeing the good things and glossing over the bad, you are setting yourself up for problems in the future.  You need alignment on certain things that cannot be compromised, such as religious compatibility, whether or not to have kids, where to live, what lifestyle you are aiming for, and a lot more.  Once you have answered these questions, you can make an educated guess as to whether or not this person is the right one to align yourself with.  Only then do you have a real shot of a successful long relationship.

So in conclusion, life is a crapshoot…you really don’t know how thing are going to work out.  In some ways, that is by design, as we would be terribly bored and unchallenged if we knew the outcome in advance.  But being willing to take an educated guess with that calculated risk certainly can spice things up, and maybe lead you down a new path that you never saw previously.  Your job is to pay attention, be an active learner and aggregate data so you can make an educated guess on what your next move should be.  That is, in my opinion, as good as it gets.

I wish you luck in your endeavors.

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