It happened again this morning, that paradoxical moment when I am emphatically “teaching” my 14-year-old a life lesson I have experienced, and also ignored, more times than I can remember. Why is it so hard to live by my own advice?
Who else out there suffers from the same malady?
The day started quite ordinarily, with my teenage son being lulled into a deeper sleep by the sound of his alarm. “Happy Friday! I greeted as I rolled up his shades. Breakfast was rushed and so were we, which led me to the mode of frustration when he chose that moment to look for his homework. As with all parents, there comes a time when patience becomes proverbial and “has left the room”.
So I found myself, once again, explaining “life” to my son in the few minute car ride to school. “It isn’t how many times you fall that matters, it’s how many times you get up”, I told him. However I added my own little twist by offering the following anecdote; “In comparison, if you ignore the potential hazard created by your untied shoelaces, your falls may get progressively worse until you finally understand the importance of being proactive and preventing the fall in the first place!”
Life has a way of teaching us in our teaching moments. I immediately reverted to thoughts of my career journey. How many times could I have avoided the falls? As I follow this presupposition, I realize it is true, “you don’t know what you don’t know”. However, how many times have habitual actions and self-deprecating thoughts lead us to the same place? So in essence, I do know what I need to change. How many times do we choose the comfortable and familiar, only to deny ourselves the potential of greatness?
In conclusion, we can’t control every circumstance that we face or prevent all of our falls (failures). But what we can learn from our mistakes, is to remove obstacles negatively impacting our success. If I take that first oh so difficult baby step, and then learn to tie my shoes, I can look forward to fewer mishaps on my journey. And finally… If the shoe fits… “you know“, wear it… but make sure to “tie it”.
-Erika K Rothwell