Stepping Stones of Possibilities

Gair by lake

Often, when we’ve fallen down, it feels like it is impossible to get back up again. When someone else PUSHES us down, it can feel even harder. That is where Arlan speaker Gair Maxwell comes in.  In his blog, Gair claims that every setback can be used to motivate us to move on, and push further than we had previously imagined.  If we choose to use a setback to our advantage instead of allowing it to stop us in our tracks, the possibilities can be endless….


Somewhere in your past, there has been a bastard who told you “NO”.

A person or an organization that let you know in either a quiet, subtle fashion or in a blunt, direct manner, that you don’t quite measure up. You can’t cut the mustard, gain privileged access to the country club or play their particular game at the required level.

It could be a client deciding to end a long-term arrangement, a friend who has ghosted or betrayed you or a potential mate who rejected your overtures.

Suddenly, what you imagined as a special door marked “Opportunity” has been closed forever, all because one single, solitary  person does not recognize or value your true potential or past contributions.

They have by-passed you in favor of opening that special door for somebody else deemed more worthy of their time, attention and future opportunities.

Don’t worry.

You are in good company.

  • Abraham Lincoln had doors slammed in his face repeatedly, losing eight elections, going bankrupt twice and losing his sweetheart before becoming America’s 16th, and arguably, president
  • Sir Winston Churchill languished on backbenches and was considered a political has-been at 65, before being named Prime Minister in time to lead Great Britain to victory against the Nazi menace.
  • Amelia Earhart was told she couldn’t fly a plane because of her gender.
  • Martin Luther King was told to drink from a different fountain because of his color.
  • Steve Jobs was given up for adoption and fired from Apple.
  • J.K. Rowling was a single mother forced to live on food stamps.
  • Elon Musk was turned down for a job at Netscape and ousted as CEO of PayPal.

History reveals that failure, setbacks and door-slamming bastards are predictable stepping stones; temporary events required to propel you and I past present-day circumstances and establish a personal and/or professional legacy that will stand the test of time.

The challenge is to recognize the bastards for what they are.

Necessary characters in the saga to discover what we’re truly made of and whether they were indeed right about us and our shortcomings all along.

It’s comes down to a simple choice:

DOOR #1:

Fall victim to B.M.W. Thinking; bitching, moaning and whining about the unfairness of it all. Become stuck in victim hood and allow the Lizard Brain to get the best of you.

DOOR #2:

Refuse to take the setbacks personally and see the people who deliver the bad news or disappoint you in some way as blessings who inspire predictable Stepping Stones of Possibilities. 

Without take time for reflection on the stumbling blocks we encounter, you and I run the risk of continuing to walk blindly, create more unintended misery and fail to see the stepping stones that lie beneath our feet.

Just because you’ve experienced mistakes doesn’t mean you are one.

Just because you’ve suffered some setbacks, doesn’t mean they define you.

Just because someone else can’t see the Possibilities, doesn’t mean you have to buy their story.

Just because someone else said “NO”, doesn’t mean you have to agree.

Not one damn bit.

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”


The above video attempts to capture in 2:33 the steadfast refusal to accept more than three decades of disappointment, defeat and closed doors and instead focus with unyielding optimism on the enormous possibilities that exist all around us. It is with utmost gratitude I salute the uber-talented Josh Parlee for his razor-sharp editing chops and the hyper-strategic Dana Zilic who helped direct where the overall theme of this new signature video needed to go. Special thanks as well to old friends like “The Flower” Martin Latulippe and new ones like “Mr. Pit Crew Challenge” Bob Parker who have been instrumental in helping me think in terms of Possibilities and how they can be Re-Imagined for 2016 and beyond.


1. Don’t Get Mad. Get Perspective: 

When things don’t go your way or people close to you throw you under the bus, you still have the final say in the matter of turning wounds into wisdom and falling bricks into stepping stones. Any time and energy wasted on anger or hurt will prevent you from seeing how discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success. Why expend any more energy in attempting to know the unknowable?  Embrace the wisdom and perspective of  Napoleon Hill who explained; Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of a greater or equal benefit.”

2. Be Appreciative:  

You’ve just been handed a gift. The more grateful you are for the stumbling block, the faster you can become the student, learn the lessons you need to and move on.

3. Make a Silent Promise:

Keep it to yourself, but quietly and firmly resolve to re-direct your energy towards implementing ideas and projects you’ve been thinking a lot about, but haven’t acted on. Here is how the once-downtrodden creator of Harry Potter weighed in on this subject: 

“Why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.”


p.s…. Don’t ever let the bastards tell you that it can’t be done. I have it on good authority from The London Free Press that they’re absolutely wrong. And as you and I know full well, if it’s in the paper (or on the Internet) it must be true ….nudge, nudge, wink, wink ..:)

p.p.s… To be fair, I have also been on the other side of the fence, finding myself in positions where I am playing the role of “The Bastard”. It’s not a role I particularly relish, especially after investing a ton of time and energy trying to help a person or a company recognize and live up to their own potential. Inevitably, there have been times I felt forced to walk away when it became clear I was having zero positive impact.

I am always delighted when that rare person steps up to the plate, circles back and proves me wrong.


Gair Maxwell’s passion and his ability to motivate are clearly evident in his writing.  Our “Reinvention Expert” is even more impressive in person. His story of rising from the ashes to become a successful speaker, along with his capacity to inspire people to dream bigger, have made him a popular presenter and ensure that he is always in-demand. If you’d like to find out more about Gair contact us today.

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