I started this blog and site with the idea that opportunities should be found in the challenges we face. Yesterday I realized a personal barrier that often interferes with my own ability to seize opportunities. Some of you may be familiar with the saying, “a bull in a china shop”. I came to realize yesterday that it is important to always take that extra deep breath so that I can avoid being that bull. There are times when it may feel appropriate to storm into a situation, head strong and full of rage or vigor. Often these are the most important times to step back and use tact.
Acting is a fantastic skill that we all should develop. No, I am not starting a totally separate thought process here. But I must believe that some of you, as I am, may question whether there are times when acting with full gusto is not the right thing to do. I would agree to an extent. The beautiful thing about a romance or good drama is that they always go to extremes for their love or their cause; Romeo and Juliet dying for love. However, if we throw ourselves on the stake for every cause we will either run out of stakes or dye too early. If, alternatively, we step back, gather all our feelings, thoughts, facts and ideas before we act, then we can be well prepared to present the image we most want the world to see, with the appropriate amount of gusto behind it. If that means throwing everything you have into your rhetoric, then so be it. However, you also can present a strong front with a soft interior (the M&M effect) that may better prepare you for those unforeseen opportunities that present in every situation.
I do believe that there are opportunities to be capitalized upon in every challenge. Ensuring that we are in the right place and mindset to see and maximize them is truly the challenge. A friend once said to me that if we only expect to hear God when we talk to him then we will never hear his voice. Rather we must walk with an open heart and mind to hear him when he chooses to talk to us. I think this is very true. So often we expect the world to move at the same pace we are traveling. We must be open to receive the world when it is ready. Perhaps nothing makes this point clearer than children.
So, to all those bulls out there, join me as we stop for a bit to enjoy the meadow we are in and let’s look through the window of the china shop before we walk in. Breath deep and gather your thoughts. More than anything be open to love and opportunities.
Timeouts. We tell our children to take them when they are throwing temper tantrums. Why are adults so blind to the idea of taking them as well? I am becoming a firm believer in the idea of timeouts. I prefer to think of them as mental breaks. They are not always reserved for those moments when you are angry or super frustrated. Why not take a mental break when you are tired, or full of positive energy but needing to step into a quiet moment? I talk to many people about commutes and how they like a relaxing 15 to 20-minute commute because it gives them a mental break before shifting into home mode.
I think it is important to build in mental breaks in many different aspects of our lives. These breaks can help to open our minds so that we are better able to both see and capitalize on the opportunities presented to us. For example, a runner in a track meet, going from event to event will fare much better if they build in short breaks between each event than their competitor who has no breaks and comes to the race tired. Likewise, you will fare better in any pursuit you choose to follow with proper mental preparedness.
I am committed to the idea of finding opportunities wherever and whenever you are able. This is much easier to achieve when you are of sharp mind, spirit and body. I watched my son complete his soccer game the other day. He plays very hard during these sporting events and is always mentally and physically tired upon the completion of a game. I encourage him to take a few minutes after to get a drink and some food and to rest before jumping into his next great adventure. This always helps ensure that the afternoon is a positive and enjoyable opportunity for both him and the entire family.
So, the next time you place your child in timeout. Think about taking one for yourself. Perhaps you should take one before you get to that point. This may be the key to finding new opportunities in your life.