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Untying the knot

Jan 9, 2012

I remember going through the buildings at our Pigeon Lake camp the first time we actually owned it. I remember seeing so much junk in every building. We ended up throwing out over 30 tons of “stuff”. Yes, over 30 tons. Although, amongst that junk there was something that really struck me when I entered Cabin 17, one of our larger cabins. It was an old plastic sign made to look like wood. It had a monkey holding onto a vine with a determined look on his face. There was a quote underneath that said, “When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” It made me laugh. I thought I really agree with that mantra. In fact it was perfect for that moment. We had bought Pigeon Lake as a back up plan because we thought we were going to lose the Orillia (Lake Simcoe) camp. This new camp was kind of like the knot and we were holding on for dear life.

I can tell you that I have lived by that saying throughout my adult life. Since I was 21 and started speaking and created the camps there have been a hundred knots I have tied and held on for dear life. Sometimes, despite my best grip, I slip off the rope and fall. It hurts sometimes really bad. I would even say it stings. The key of course is to find a new rope and start climbing again.

But what if you untie the knot and jump off? You intentionally let go of the rope. You might say that goes against everything I teach and the exact story of our success. That’s true and it’s false. Here’s where maturity and experience come in. Sometimes in life you have to recognize when the knot needs to be untied. Even if we want something really bad or believe in an idea or want someone so much it hurts. There are signs the Universe will give you. Signs that say look again, try again and begin again. It’s the ability to have the wisdom to know the difference that matters most. Untying the knot doesn’t mean you fail, it means you know you need to move forward.

I remember a program I had created to help transition students into high school. I really believed in it. People doubted me and told me why it would fail. I believed in the potential so much that I stuck with it. Ignoring the comments and the reality of how poorly it was going. In the end the rope broke, I fell and I fell hard. We lost over $80,000 and I was terrified I would get the “I told you so’s”. I thought for sure it was going to work. The students that went through the program loved it. I just needed to hold on! Right? Tie another knot!

In the end when the dust settled we were still in business and what was most important we learned. We learned what we were good at. We also found a new rope and began climbing again. The Universe (friends, colleagues, family and even strangers) wants you to succeed. Don’t live your life to prove people wrong, live your life to prove yourself right. If that means untying the knot, so be it. Learn. Grow. There are lots of ropes to climb.

Posted by Stu Saunders in Leadership Learning and Growing Motivation on Jan 9, 2012 at 10:45 am | Permanent Link | Comments (8)


  • Comment posted on Jan 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm by Angela (YLCC Member)

    My most favourite blog yet!

  • Comment posted on Jan 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm by AnnMarie (YLCC Member)

    Great blog Stu!  Do you have a picture of the sign?

  • Comment posted on Jan 9, 2012 at 7:00 pm by ORNJ (YLCC Member)

    I’m with Ange on this one, Stu!!  Bravo!!

  • Comment posted on Jan 9, 2012 at 7:11 pm by ElizabethB (YLCC Member)

    so true stu. quote going in the journal

  • Comment posted on Jan 9, 2012 at 10:59 pm by Hilary Swan (YLCC Member)

    I really enjoy reading your blogs Stu, You have a lot of insight on life, and have a great way with words.

  • Comment posted on Jan 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm by becky jo (YLCC Guest)

    thanks stu. perfect timimg for this message.

  • Comment posted on Jan 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm by Stacey Wells (YLCC Guest)

    Love it!!! Glad u tied the Pigeon Lake knot:)

  • Comment posted on Jan 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm by Elle (YLCC Guest)

    You’re right Stu.  I do like your blog. Kudos to you on such an insightful post.


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