So, here’s the situation: We’re thinking about making some changes in life, and we’re wondering how to spot the perfect time to act. Perfect timing means perfect success, right? Here’s a news flash. There are no perfect times. There are bad times, good times, even excellent times. But never a perfect time. For anything. But that doesn’t mean we can go ahead willy-nilly without considering whether the circumstances add up to a good time or a bad time. We have to stick an elbow in the bath water and check the temperature before we proceed. Timing always counts. So let’s consider how to read the times. A good time is any time when things seem pretty normal, when words like “saga” don’t keep coming up. The kids’ report cards may not be all they could be. Losing the standard fifteen pounds might seem like an impassable mountain. In the larger world, employment is pretty stable. The stock market is hanging in there. All normal. When things are pretty normal at home and in the economy, it’s a good time to start new stuff. Then there are the not-so-good times, when we need caution. Even when life’s a little lumpa-lumpa, though, we want to launch if we see a sweet spot. For example, there once was a day when the world sat lorn and unaware we all wanted to spend big money on a sugar-laden cup of coffee and call the waitress a Barista. Then along came Starbucks. Same thing with Federal Express. And so many others. Sweet spots beat lumpa-lumpa times. Then there are the bad times. When life whacks us a good one, it may be time to rest and recoup rather than start something new. When somebody we love dies, our lives look like a pile of rubble, and none of it makes sense. Divorce does that, too. There’s a gaping hole where our vital organs used to be. After a major hit, it takes about a year for our brains to really function again. We may labor under the illusion we’re thinking clearly, but our brains are mush. It’s not a great time to make decisions. Sometimes, though, we can’t take time to recover. Perhaps our livelihood gets yanked away, and we have to find a future–as in right now. We have to act, ready or not. Or we may see the sweet spot of our dreams. Those don’t come around every day, so, here too, we have to take action–once we make sure it’s not a mirage. True sweet spots beat bad times. Going it alone is always tricky, but going it alone in bad times is asking for trouble. We need to get other people to talk and think with.. Who can help? Forget the negativity drippers. Negative words splash acid on our dreams. Even if it’s the uncle with money, we can’t afford their presence when we’re in a ditch. And we don’t want untrustworthy people tromping into our lives. Who needs to end up as a tasty morsel of gossip? We also shouldn’t engage with the clueless. However charming and sympathetic they may be, if they don’t know anything about what we’re trying to do, they can’t help. We need trust and loyalty, plus an understanding of the situation and the possibilities. All this gold may not come for free. It often requires more than one person to get all we need, but a cheering squad gives us more oomph than a lone sis-boom-bah anyway. So, here’s how it goes: We move with confidence in good times. We add a little caution in the lumpa-lumpa times. We lean hard on help to keep on keeping on in the bad times. The most important thing at any time is to keep looking ahead. Maybe wounded, maybe soaring, but never giving up. Giving up is losing. © 2007 by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved.