I can't take credit for this weeks blog topic. It actually is a quote from Jim Collins, noted author of books such as "Good To Great" and "Built To Last."  And, his use of the phrase wasn't a title to a blog, it was a question..."what's the best way to leverage the unexpected?"

And it got me to thinking.

Let's start with a simple premise.  If you don't know what you're doing or why, or; you don't know where you are or why, the question changes doesn't it. It changes from "what's the best way to leverage the unexpected" to "how can you possibly leverage the unexpected?"  Right?

To optimize change; you need to know where you are. 

To optimize change; you need to know where you are. 

I mean, to my way of thinking, there's always this inexorable linkage in life. One task relates to one action which relates to a bigger set of actions, that relate to a goal. Leverage by design I think, pre-supposes that you've got something "in hand" that you can "multiply" in some way in the effort to create something new, bigger, better, clearer or some other positive descriptor you can use. Leveraging it appears takes two "things" a known and energy of some sort, be it thought or action, which we then apply "on" the known. 

Here's the problem though. Most people don't really know where they are (financially almost for sure) or what they're doing (not in an arrogant sense, in a pragmatic sense. I'll assume most people know what they're doing, though often not why). If that's true then the reality is that you can't really leverage the unexpected because you know not what your energy should be geared towards multiplying. And, hence the problem.

Financial advisors often talk about "controlling what you can control" as central to success and it is. My suggestion would be that one of the things that you can control is learning how to figure out where you're at, where you're headed and why.  I say that for two reasons: (a) if you don't know, any road will take you there and (b) if you don't know you can't leverage the unexpected. And, call me a fool here but I'm just about dead certain that the unexpected will show up and more times than we care to admit. 

If the only constant is change and if that constant has a "will" of it's own, then we control only a small fraction of life's changes. Which, by design, means we can leverage very little change.

So, among those things that you can control, spending, life choices, how long you work, where you live, what you own, what you save...let's throw one more thing on the list.

Your ability to adapt and prosper from the unexpected.  

All you have to do is take control of it, and there's help for that. Start with defining where you are.