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Thursday, October 4,2012

Baby Steps

By Al Secunda  
A few months ago, I was attending a health convention in Los Angeles. By the end of this four day event, I must have listened to two dozen lectures and had taken hundreds of pages of notes regarding nutrition, fitness, etc. For the closing ceremonies, the leaders had assembled our chairs in a huge circle. (There must have been at least 75 of us seated within this closed ring.) We were then asked to take turns sharing our most memorable, important, and/or insightful moment of the convention.


As I was thumbing through my notes to find my “gem” of a moment, something interesting was happening directly across the circle from me. There was an infant sitting quietly on his father’s lap. However, after spotting his mother, who was sitting within the circle and directly across from him, he suddenly became dissatisfied hanging out with daddy. Now he had mommy on his mind. He wriggled and squirmed in an attempt to get off of his father’s lap. Finally, his father surrendered, allowed him to stand on the carpet, and to use his knee for balance and support. Then, after looking longingly at his mother, the child began to walk in her direction. However, there was one problem. The little guy hadn’t mastered this thing called walking. No sooner had he begun his wobbly journey toward mommy when he stumbled and fell onto the carpet.

For some reason, rather than rushing to his aid, his parents hesitated, and watched his forward journey with great fascination. What we all then witnessed was a seemingly endless cycle of the little guy falling, crying, getting up, walking, and then falling right back down again. This “bumpy carpet cycle” continued until he arrived into his mothers outstretched arms. It was at this moment that I knew that I had experienced my most educational and memorial lesson of the entire convention.

Overcoming a “Dis-ability”

Here’s how I chose to perceive and interpret the scene. The infant’s will to reach his destination was greater than any fear and pain that he was experiencing along the way. Regardless of his walking “dis-ability,” he was on a mommy mission and determined to get to his goal.

I then began to think about how we all could learn a lesson from this infant. How often have we prematurely given up our dream or goal right after a fall. From a failing grade, to an unsuccessful relationship, from a horrendous job interview to a publisher’s rejection letter, from a no thank you from a perspective buyer, to “I’m busy on Saturday night,” from an unsuccessful investment to an injury, from bombing at a comedy club to hitting a wrong note at an audition, from a painful first day on the job to losing the game for the team - how many of us have given up right then and there - by burying our heads in the “carpet,” making up stories about why we “tripped,” deciding that we’ll never do that again, and convincing ourselves and others why our journey and destination weren’t really all that important.

Life After Hitting the Carpet

If we are stretching, growing, risking, and getting out there in the world, at some point along the way, we are all going to hit the carpet (and usually more than once). The question then becomes, “after hitting the carpet, how are we going to respond?” Are we going to take the experience too personally and make it too “meaning-full” or, after feeling the pangs and pain from the fall, are we going to: take what we learned, get some advice, make some corrections, get up off of our knees, dust ourselves off, and continue to pursue our passions and goals - one step at a time?

How to Deal with the Carpet

What if we all could develop the ability to deal with our encounters with pain, shame, humiliation, and disappointment in a more empowering manner? If we could, we certainly would improve our chances of realizing more of our hopes and dreams. This empowering “dealing shift” can occur by allowing all limiting feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and emotions to exist and self-express themselves inside of us, while not granting any of these “advisors” the right to vote.

Without voting rights, these “advisors,” in the form of feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and e m o t i o n s will eventually lose their power and influence. Once “they” fall out of favor, you will be well on your way to taking more steps forward and becoming more resilient, resolute, and resourceful. These Three “Rs” will help you to reclaim your confidence and momentum which, in turn, will enable you to become a more masterful, creative, and productive player within your own life.


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