As I write this, I was supposed to be in the middle of a 108 bicycle ride in support of cancer research at The Ottawa Hospital, along with several hundred other cyclists (many from the local architectural, engineering and construction community.) But yesterday, the meteorologists reported there was a high probability of thunderstorms and high winds, and that meant that organizers needed to push the “cancel” button. The event is off.
In fact the Do the Ride (formerly Ride the Rideau) initiative has had several challenges since its inception about six years ago. One year, the organizers miscalculated on the risk of bad weather and the thunderstorm hit after the ride started — they aborted it mid-stream. Last year, sadly, while the weather wasn’t perfect, a cyclist died in a collision with a garbage truck, throwing a rather serious damper on what should have been an event to save, not lose, lives.
Of course, you cannot control all the variables in life, especially the weather, and the several million dollars for cancer research will indeed go where the funds are supposed to be allocated. On a personal level, the intensive training for the past several months means my fitness level is as good as it has ever been. And the event has taken on special meaning — and relevance — to the person who brought me into this project several years ago, Robert Merkley, as his wife recently was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and (after surgery) will soon begin chemotherapy.
In business, marketing and life, there are variables we can control, and others we cannot. While sometimes the seemingly critical details that go wrong can derail our best intentions, the consequences often are in the scheme of things minor or insignificant. There are critical moments, of course, but the work in setting the stage and the intended results often are not defined by the actual failure.
The point here: Give our best effort to worthy ideals and causes, and things won’t always pan out — but I think when the dust settles, we’ll discover we’ve achieved virtually all (if not all) of our intended objectives, regardless.