Inflexibility renders me STRESSED, not blessed.
Here’s what trips me up: I am an ultra-prepared person. When I deem something important, I mark it on my calendar, plan what to wear, make notes on my goals, leave early to arrive early and show up with my tank full of readiness.
Yes, I am a goody-two-shoes in matters of preparedness, and as a result I expect everything to go according to plan.
My mantra? If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Wouldn’t it be great if life followed the script of such simple equations?
Ah, but then there would be no need for flexibility.
One of my 2017 goals is to up my public speaking game, obtain certification and yes, to win a national speaking contest. My course charted, I joined the local Toastmasters group in Sarasota.
I’ve spoken publicly for years and years and have no fear at all when it comes to saying my piece. It is a joy to conduct workshops and training seminars around the country in my spare time, and, as my Mom likes to say, “Give Brenda a microphone and she’s in her glory.”
Desiring to take this part of my life to the next level, by good fortune I met a young man who – through Toastmasters – entered a national speaking competition, subsequently secured a book deal and now speaks for a living. He’s living his dream.
So to Toastmasters I went, and it is HEAVEN for word nerds, grammarians and lovers of the art of speech (yes, there really are people out there like this. People like me!)
They actually count the number of times you say “um” or use throw away words and poor grammar; vocabulary and staying within the prescribed time counts and you are publicly evaluated for each and every spoken way you participate in the meeting.
Stressed by such rigors? No way! For people like me, it’s a total rush.
Run like a well-oiled machine, these meetings are ULTRA prepared with assignments for the forthcoming week scheduled at meetings’ end. Jumping right into the fray, I signed up for my first mini-speech – a two-minute exhortation to kick off the next Wednesday night.
Oh yes – you bet I was prepared. When my message finally crystallized, I wrote it out, timed it, practiced it over and over, refined it, timed it again, made Duane listen to it repeatedly and by the time Wednesday rolled around, I was bursting with the promise of what would be a glorious debut.
I departed early to be in my place with a bright shiny face well in advance of my slot in the agenda.
On the drive, I practiced my two-minutes.
I practiced so much that I missed my turn.
And ended up 10 minutes out of my way, resulting in an unforeseen detour.
Which planted me directly in the middle of the aftermath of a horrendous traffic accident.
I would definitely be late.
Living the seven stages of grief, I rested on anger for quite a while. “This is not fair! I was so prepared! I left so EARLY!”
Despair had a field day, too. Sadness, too. It took much of the stalled time in traffic to finally get to acceptance.
This was beyond my control. If I missed my turn to speak and my hard work been for naught…it would not be the end of the world.
Blessed are the flexible, for they shall bend and not break.
Yes, I arrived, and just in time for my spot on the agenda! Had I stayed stressed and freaked out, I’d would have been too flustered to stand and deliver my speech.
A speech, ironically, entitled, “Enjoy the Journey.”
More thoughts on being flexible here – and an interesting new WOW:
Sometimes the very discernment needed comes from asking yourself, “Will this really matter in five years?”
Is the answer no? Let it go. Relinquish the white-knuckled grip on that thing trying to steal your joy!
Have a blessed (not stressed) week, my friends.