When we wobble, we grow!

…from my next book, Yes Changes Everything! Coming in May 2020!

“You’ve got to sing like you don’t need the money,
Love like you’ll never get hurt;
You’ve got to dance like nobody’s watchin’
It’s gotta come from the heart if you want it to work.”

These are lyrics from the song, “Come from the Heart” by Susanna Clark and Richard Leigh. I love them! They help me relax my grip on whatever I’m trying to do and ditch the illusion of ever being perfect at it (…and *exhale*).

Yes Changes Everything!

Perfection is just someone’s opinion anyway. The perfect cake, song, beer, or whatever is in the eye of the beholder. We may think a song is perfect, but to someone else, it’s just noise. A beer may be out of this world to us—just perfection—but someone else may think it’s awful. That means a perfect home, city, restaurant, or night out doesn’t exist. It’s not objective and real like the chair I’m sitting on or the candle burning next to me or Blossie curled up on my lap as I write this.

The perfect whatever

When we buy into the illusion that perfection is possible, we also get a whole lot of frustration and staying in place. Because perfection isn’t a thing, so we end up exhausted, running after air, or worse, staying frozen in place because we think we haven’t got the talent or connections or money we need to go after the perfect whatever.

What we really need when we go after something new is heart, energy, and passion. Things that don’t take talent or connections or money but lead us to the amazing goodness that’s hiding in plain sight, even if it’s a little dinged up or dusty or smaller than we’d thought.

Let’s wobble without fear

Something else we also need: to be okay outside our comfort zones, outside our safe, familiar space in an area where things get…wobbly. Where lines are thin and crooked. Where we stumble and fall. Where we’ve said yes to something for the first time, and we’re not good at it. It feels wobbly and weird, and it will come out tilted in the beginning—far from perfect.

But you know what, beautiful someone? Not only is wobbly okay, it’s great because when we wobble, we have to figure out what to do to steady ourselves. When things feel weird, we have to learn how to make them feel…unweird. When our cake, crocheted llama, or row of garden basil comes out gnarled and curly, we have to figure out how to straighten it out and in the process, learn a whole lot about what doesn’t work. When we wobble, we grow.

So let’s wobble, and let’s not be afraid.

Like nobody’s watching

And while we wobble, let’s turn off the noise—whether that’s opinions or articles or “experts” or headlines. Let’s tell them to shush. We’re trying to grow here. We can’t be distracted by every click that comes our way.

And hey, beautiful someone, see you outside our comfort zones where we sing like we don’t need the money and dance like nobody’s watching.

“Failure”: A brand new view

When we find ourselves in tough situations, they become less frustrating, less likely to make us label ourselves a failure or some other negative thing if we decide we’re going to look at them as a sign that we’re growing and doing it all on purpose.

Instead of allowing tough situations to bring us down, we’re making them work for us.

It’s like: “At the time, it was just awful. But in hindsight, facing that [layoff/fight/awful person/ridiculous job] was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Real people/their stories:

  • “I really don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t go through my divorce. At the time, it was terrible, but having to deal with John cheating on me woke me up to just how strong I am and how much being able to trust someone really means to me.”
  • “I look around my shop and think, ‘Look what I would have missed out on if I hadn’t gotten fired and instead stayed in that awful job?’ I am so deliriously happy now.”
  • “When Jill quit at the worst possible time for my business, I couldn’t deny it any more: I was a terrible manager. Once I could see the price I was paying for not having a clue how to manage people, I grew up about it—read a few books, took some courses, and most of all, changed how I acted. Then, I added more people, and my business finally started to take off.”
  • “After Sara told a bunch of people that I wasn’t qualified to teach, I learned never to accept that kind of behavior from someone. I let it go that one time, and I know the consequences. I’ll be ready if there’s ever a next time.”
  • “I know now to trust my gut instinct when it comes to the people I meet. I went ahead and bought a car from someone who gave me a seriously bad vibe, and it came back to bite me. Cost me thousands and a night stranded on the highway in a snowstorm. Never again am I gonna let somebody I don’t trust talk me into something. If my instincts are telling me no, I don’t do it. End of story.”

In the end, these people saw a tough situation as a stepping stone. And here’s what’s really amazing: the experiences they had were bad (and sometimes really bad), and it would be naïve and just too “Suzy Sunshine” to pretend otherwise.

So I’m not trying to make light of our tough times, but there’s a secret weapon here: when we choose to see situations this way—as a stepping stone rather than a stumbling block—we automatically come out in a good place. We take the hit, but we don’t stay down. We deliberately CHOOSE to see a situation as a learning experience, not a defeat, embarrassment, waste of energy, or any other type of loss or closed door.

Unstoppable, that’s what we are.

Who are your sandpaper people?

We’ve all got our own sandpaper people. These are the family members, neighbors, and coworkers who test our patience, demand more from us than we’re willing to give, or just generally make us crazy.

Be grateful for them, beautiful someone! Honestly, their abrasive behavior is smoothing out our own rough edges and sharpening our dull ones.

  • If you’re super-restless and impatient, having to deal with people who run at a slower pace smooths out that impulsive edge on you.
  • If you’re a laid back, wait-and-see type person surrounded by an army of Type As at work, your own (overly?) relaxed approach to work is being energized as you keep pace with these people.
  • If you’re kind of emotional, being around people who are always calm may make you crazy, but it will also stop the freight train of feelings and impulses that can drag you all over the place.
  • If you’re a loner, friends who force you to go out are opening up your network, your mind, maybe even your world.
  • People who disagree with us make us think.
  • People whose values or beliefs differ from ours teach us tolerance, respect…or spiritual detachment as we learn to “live and let live.”

Our sandpaper people are making us try new things, think in new says, get exposed to new ideas and people, witness our own strength, and see ourselves with new potential.

Smarter and stronger

This is all preparation for your dream come true. In fact, sandpaper people are pretty much needed for progress. Every time an edge on us gets sanded down, every time a dull spot in our lives—something in need of polishing up—gets “buffed” by a sandpaper person, we’re getting wiser and more patient. We’re broadening our perspective and our horizons. We’re seeing things in new ways and thinking about them with a different perspective.

And I know it’s hard to believe it when it’s happening to us, but those sandpaper people—even the incredibly annoying ones—are lifting us to new heights, making us better at listening, building our patience, and strengthening our resolve to reach our dream come true…all in ways no other type of experience could. Every time they knock us off course or distract us or generally irritate us, we have to do the work to get back on track.

Again, even though we may not like it when it’s happening, this is all making us smarter and stronger. We don’t grow in the good times. Our growth spurts come through tough times, through adversity.

And sandpaper people = adversity.

Big time.

Fresh ideas

I asked some friends what they learned from the sandpaper people in their lives. Listen to a few:

  • “My last boss was such a bad manager, but I had to learn to work for her without going out of my mind. So I did. Today, I could totally work for anyone. Thanks to her, I have tons more patience and self-control. And it takes a lot to get me upset at work. No one could ever be as bad a manager as she was, and I survived. I can handle anything now.”
  • “I treat my friends really well because I’ve lived through some seriously bad situations with friends. I learned the hard way just how important love and loyalty really are.”
  • “I finally figured out what my grandmother meant when she said, ‘Smooth mountains give you nothing to grip onto as you climb.’ Definitely true, I don’t grow when everyone in my life is making things easy for me.”

Instead of seeing sandpaper people as just plain annoying, try to look at them as a growth spurt in the making, a chance to learn something really important and see new potential in yourself. Remember this especially when they make you want to scream. That’s a huge leap forward straight in the direction of your dream come true.