On Sunday afternoon on 14th July 2019, just as the Wimbledon Men's Final was about to begin, our neighbour rang the doorbell to tell us they had our missing cat Bubbles. She'd spent 19 days wandering and lost within a mile's radius of our home.
The ordeal of our beloved pet going missing taught us many lessons. Here are some of the other things we did and learnt along the way:
1) Patience is not just about waiting, it's about what you do while you wait.
2) Sometimes you can become lost even amongst the familiar. This is such a metaphor for life itself and how we have all sometimes felt..
3) In the face of uncertainty, the possibilities seem endless and frightening. This can paralyse you into mournful inaction. Or worse, an enforced emotional detachment.
4) Focus on the things that are in your control. I did regular postings on social media, printed off flyers and stuck them on lampposts, trees and obliging shop owners' windows, and knocked on a hundred or more doors asking people to keep a lookout.
5) Communicate powerfully and memorably with emotion and storytelling. You wouldn't believe how many cats go missing (and most return, thankfully). How do you get people to care and remember?
6) Create a community. Make it easy for people to connect with you. I invited people to take a photo of the cat if they thought it was Bubbles and share it with me via social media, direct message or text.
7) Show gratitude and respond to those who take the trouble to be your eyes and ears, to connect with you in whatever form that works for them, even if they've not given you the news you want to hear.
These lessons are universal. They equally apply to other things we are looking for in our lives. The only difference is that Bubbles is a real, living breathing entity whom I know and love.
Could you apply the same principles to things you are looking for that are not yet yours or have been lost to you?
Perhaps it's a new dream job, or a new life you are yet to create, or a relationship which nurtures you to become a better version of yourself.
First, get clear on what you want, why you want it and how getting that thing will change you life. Once you've gained clarity, you can begin to create your own breakthrough.