I love gifts, don’t you? When you get handed a parcel, the first thing that happens is your imagination goes wild as you start to envisage what wonderful delights will be unveiled as you unwrap it. There are times, however, when the actual gift and the expectation of the unveiling are worlds apart. The gift looked so good, until you unwrapped it, that is! Have you experienced that? Well, how would you like to get an incredible life-changing gift with every single unwrapping?

I guarantee that you will be handed a gift today. It may not look like a gift, feel like a gift or smell like a gift, but trust me, it is a brilliant gift. I heard it described this way; Every problem or challenge is a gift. The bigger the issue, the more layers of wrapping you will need to take off, but the more precious the gift inside will be. That is powerful, and it is incredibly true. I have found this to be the case in my life, over and over again.

I love to travel. I love to travel even more when someone else is paying for it. I had a paid speaking event in sunny Queensland, and I was excited that my flight would be paid for, my accommodation would be paid for, and a large amount of money would be deposited into my bank account. Does it get any better than that? Soon before I was about to leave on this exciting adventure, the phone call came. ‘Andrew, I’m sorry to tell you that the event has been cancelled. The world is going crazy, and this coronavirus seems to be raging out-of-control. I hope we might be able to rebook it, but at this stage there are no guarantees.’

Soon after that phone call, in March 2020, there were more calls, more messages, and more emails. One by one each paid speaking gig evaporated in front of my very eyes, and with it, tens of thousands of dollars of income. I felt a numb feeling engulf my body as I slid down the wall and dissolved into an almighty tantrum. After about 10 to 15 minutes of self-absorbed victim-thinking dummy-spitting I decided, due to the perspective I had learned in my life, this was not a problem, instead a very precious gift that needed to be unwrapped.

The first layer of the wrapping revealed to me what was in my control. The second layer started to unlock some answers as I asked myself the question, what do I do now? As I took off that final layer of wrapping, I saw opportunities, greater than I’ve seen for many years in my life. Opportunities to speak on a global stage, opportunities to impact more lives, opportunities to make a difference during this trying time in history, and opportunities to do things I never thought I could do.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, COVID-19 was an incredibly transformational time in my life, as it revealed to me opportunities to gain more clarity about what I want and in the purpose of my life to do more of what I’m on this planet to do. Initially, it seemed like an incredible problem, but on reflection and with a positive focus, proper perspective, and spontaneous action it was an incredibly precious gift that has blessed my life and many other lives.

As I look back at all the challenges and adversity in my life, all I see are precious gifts. Being sacked from my professional football club, was a wonderful gift that put me on a path in the health and wellbeing industry. Losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in business and investments, turned out to be an invaluable gift that led me to make an illogical yet necessary course correction in my life. Three divorces gave me the gift of awareness, forgiveness, and self-acceptance. Losing my mother to cancer, allowed me the gift and opportunity of sharing her inspiration and legacy. Each one of these parcels needed much unwrapping, but, sure enough, there was a precious gift inside each one.

As I listened to Charlene Madden tell her story on this week’s podcast called, Choose life, I heard the same message. A lady whose life was littered with abuse, addiction, abandonment, and depression was finally able to unwrap the many layers of the trauma she had experienced to enjoy the incredible gift that comes with helping others. This is a podcast I urge you to listen to.

From this day on, enjoy the gifts that come your way. When your initial reaction to a problem, challenge or adversity is to complain, blame or criticism, stop and ask yourself this question: if I take the time to reflect and unwrap this parcel, what precious gift will I find inside? If you expect to find that precious gift, you will find it every time. Enjoy unwrapping your gifts today.