Wham!  That’s the sound of my chest slamming into the ground at mach speed — knocking my breath out, bruising my ribs and delivering a bloody scratch to the side of my nose.  One second, I’m jogging along, enjoying the fresh air and gorgeous nature of Annadel State Park (in Santa Rosa, CA), the next I’m face down in the dirt, communing with the rocks and the squirrels, wondering if my dream of running another half-marathon is over.

And all it took was one little stumble.

Have you ever stumbled at any point in your life?   If you say you haven’t, you’re either a liar or you’re in deep denial!   😊

Stumbles happen all the time in life, don’t they?    The one I just described took place at mile 10 of a 12-mile run with my Sunday trail running group.  Basically, my foot caught a tree root and it was “Down Went Frasier”.     1-2-3, and you’re out.   It happened so suddenly I never even had time to extend my hands to soften the blow.   It was like Duane “the Rock” Johnson” power slammed me to the canvas.   Shocked and pained as I was, I realized I couldn’t just lie there on the trail, feeling sorry for myself. Bruised ribs or not, I still had 2 more miles to run before reaching the parking lot.  What else could I do but Pick myself up, Dust myself off, Quit complaining, and get back on the trail!  PDQ!

Today I’m going to share with you three of my other “life stumbles”, and how I handled them.   None of them involved the physical act of falling down, but they all left a bruise.

My first stumble occurs in 2005, just a few years after I’ve started my business – Dr. Clue, teambuilding treasure hunts.   With the business growing, I decide that it’s time to open an office and hire an assistant.     On paper, my new assistant looks too good to be true:  Glowing references, conscientious, nice as can be.  Let’s call him Trevor (because that’s his name, Trevor).  Oh, did I mention Trevor is also an embezzler!  That’s right, over the course of 3 months, he winds up stealing over $20,000 from my business.   What tips me off is that new high-end video game system that has mysteriously appeared on my credit card, not to mention the plane tickets to Hawaii. Thankfully, my insurance company reimburses me about half of the loss, but still, it’s a big hit.  Now, do I just take it lying down?  Of course not.  What else can I do but curse Trevor (under my breath), Pick myself up, Dust myself off, Quit complaining, and get back on the trail!

My second stumble occurs in 2008, at the height of the great depression of the mid-oughts.  You all remember that, don’t you?  As a result of the economic crash, my clients all of a sudden decide to eliminate all “non-essential” activities, meaning parties, travel and most especially teambuilding.   In spite of my reduced revenue, I’m determined to continue my advertising at its current rate, leading me to run up a whopping $50K debt on my line of credit.   Before I know it, I’m forced to give up my office, fire my new assistant, and move back into my home office.  Quite a come down.  Frankly, it’s another body slam!    1-2-3!     But once again, however, what else can I do except PDQ — Pick myself up, Dust myself off, Quit complaining, and get back on the trail!

My third stumble happens in 2011, when, alas, my first marriage breathes its dying breath.   Divorce is no fun, even if it’s amicable, as mine was.   Not only is it emotionally exhausting, but divorce can really hit you in the pocket book.  So, do I lie down, lick my wounds and curl up in a fetal position?  Yes, I do!  I’m only human and there are only so many stumbles a person can take!

But eventually, I do what I always do— Pick myself up, Dust myself off, Quit complaining, and get back on the trail!

Now you may be wondering, Dave, what’s your personal lesson from all of these life stumbles? I’d love to say that I learned something deep and profound from each of these experiences, but sometimes a stumble is just a stumble.   There’s no big take away.   I wish none of it had happened.   I’m not a particularly better person for surviving all these body slams.

Nevertheless, I can say this:     Stumbles are an inevitable part of life.   They WILL happen.   And although they don’t always build character, you do have to get through them!

My advice:

  • Be present!
  • Stay alert!
  • Recognize that things will eventually change.

And most of all, everybody:  PDQ — Pick yourself up, Dust yourself off, Quit complaining, and get back on the trail!






[When you book your next Dr. Clue teambuilding program, we’ll donate $100 to your favorite 501(3)(c) charity, OR gift that charity a free virtual treasure hunt!]

[Looking for a great, safe, holiday program for your team?   Book this week to earn a 10% discount on your Dr. Clue Holiday Hunt (virtual):  “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has been Kidnapped”.    10 great clues leading to amazing, holiday-themed locations all across the world.   All completely on Zoom..   Write or call for more details.415-699-3905  sales@drclue.com]