Sometimes our greatest inspirations come from children. Children live life from a place where anything is possible without the head clutter that we as adults seem to let get in the way of just about anything. As a business coach and consultant I experience firsthand people’s joy when they fulfill on what they are committed to. In one particular training a woman shared a personal story with the group for it exemplified what we were talking about. I think it is worth repeating so I will share it with you.
The conversation we were in was around not identifying ourselves and our work by our past limits. “Mary” shared a story about her 7 year old son, “Mark” and his friend Timmy who were both on the little league team. The final game of the season was to be on Saturday and Timmy hadn’t hit a single ball all season. Since a child doesn’t tend to add too much meaning to things Timmy then declared that he was going to hit a home run on Saturday. Mark thought that was great and they went on their merry way. As the week progressed, Timmy went on to tell everybody he ran into that he was going to hit a home run on Saturday. Kids thought it was great and adults thought how cute, even though they didn’t believe it would happen. How many adults do you know who would dare say something like this in an area where they had had no previous success? Zero probably. After all, what if it didn’t happen or turn out the way I said. I could look like a fool, people might find out I’m not so great. Better to live in my risk free zone and accept that I am as good as I’m going to get. (For most of us even our risks are calculated risks).
Saturday came and Timmy went up to his coach and announced he was going to hit a home run. Finally it was Timmy’s turn go to bat, he approached the plate, bat in hand ready to hit his home run. The pitcher threw the ball Timmy swung his bat and it tapped the edge of the ball and went backwards. Appearing to be a foul at first sight nobody went into action except Timmy who started running to first base. By the time the others realized that the ball did not go into foul territory Timmy was already headed for second base. The ball was thrown and the catch missed and Timmy was on his way to third base. By the time the ball was retrieved Timmy was placing his foot across home plate. Timmy had done it, he hit his home run. Although this event was far from extraordinary, (the ball went backward instead of forward) people were left with the extraordinary. Parents and kids alike shared in joy and awe of possibility. There was an aliveness present. When we take a risk in life and stop worrying about how it will turn out we step into the realm of aliveness or being alive in it’s full vibrancy. Regardless of the outcome we move forward and expand ourselves and those around us.
Many years ago I was in a leadership program and in order to get candidated I had to get up in front of the room (there were over 300 people) and share the training authentically. I was so in my head when I first stepped up on stage that authenticity was the last thing coming out of my mouth. I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to say and was stiff as a board. The trainer asked “Francesca, where are you?” (I thought it was pretty obvious where I was) so I answered “in my head. ” I wanted to die on stage. I was found out, my biggest nightmare, stripped down so all my not good enoughness was now on stage. Running wasn’t an option for that would look even worse so I surrendered, stayed on stage and got coached. Funny thing happened since I no longer had to protect or hide my not okayness, I started sharing from a whole different place. I was now sharing my vulnerability and humanness not what I thought it looked like to do it right. This was something people could relate to. Before I knew it half the room was in tears and the other half clearly moved. Who knows what waits on the other side of our fears that we feel so necessary to hide. I invite everyone who reads this to take a risk, not a calculated one, today and everyday. It isn’t whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game and the name of this game is being alive.