Mountain Lesson No. 35

Padma Resort Legian, Bali.

Padma Resort Legian, Bali.

It’s okay to drop the ball every now and then. 

As parents, business owners, students, employers, employees, teams, professionals, etc. we have so many ‘things on our plate’, juggling so many tasks, that it’s inevitable that every now and then we’ll drop one.

So what?

We can get so caught up in the fear of the #repercussions that this is actually what causes us to drop the ball. The fear and anxiety of ‘what if?’.

“what will others think of me?”

Some people get caught up in the fluff of “what will others think of me?” while others are the complete opposite and don’t give a sh*t what people think!

My view on it is this:

What’s most important is that we stop and observe what happened–why the ball was dropped–asking ourselves some simple questions to understand the cause and learn from it.

For example, sales and leadership expert Blair Singer teaches us to debrief the situation by asking what happened? Why? What could we do differently? What did we learn about ourselves?

Self reflection is a great way to learn from our experiences. This way we can determine what to do differently (not better) next time. Leadership practices teach us that we won’t know if it will be better until we try it. 

Delegating a few things off of your plate is always a simple way to reduce the load, however, this will cause problems for those of us who believe we are the only one who can do what we do. This lack of letting go alone stops businesses from growing past solopreneur status. And, hello! this strategy will also push a few do-it-yourself-itis buttons!

Think about what you are naturally good at. Which natural talents of yours can you use to manage the situation and approach it differently next time? We all possess talents that allow us to do some things with more ease than others. Conversely, other people possess talents that allow them to do some things more easily–and probably better–than us. For example, I can motivate a room full of people to learn something and take action. On the flip side, I can’t (easily) reconcile a spreadsheet of numbers… it just drives me nuts. Torture! Give it to somebody who loves working with numbers, please!

Your talents can also be quite dangerous, and you probably don’t even know it! Which talents are you over-using? Too much talking, not enough listening, for example. To engage people to help you keep all your balls in the air, you’ll need to do some listening. Hard to do while you are talking.

“you can’t read the label from inside the jar”

Blair Enns, international creative business coach and author, once said “you can’t read the label from inside the jar”. Talk to somebody about what’s happening in your world–a coach, a mentor or an un-biased acquaintance, for example. Just talking about your situation can shed a perspective on it that you might not see yourself.

Observe the traffic of your mind.

Explore the situation by journaling and meditation. Creating space in your thoughts and being present can also allow a new perspective or realisation to sneak in. ‘Observe the traffic of your mind’ and choose which bus to jump on and explore. Sounds weird maybe, but trust me, it’s a game changer. Dan Harris wrote a great book called 10% Happier after he had two nervous breakdowns on Good Morning America, on live national TV. He went from calling meditation “woo woo” to an advocate and author on the subject once it changed his life.

Not ready for meditation yet? Try what I call an ‘Isolation session’ and go for a run or a walk. No devices, no music, just your thoughts and awareness. This is why our Mount Lofty hikes are so popular. We unpack stuff for each other by listening and occasionally offering ideas.

No matter which approach you take, if any, please remember that a ‘failure’ is a lesson in disguise. Dropping a ball is just a tap on your shoulder to let you know that you need to pay attention and make an adjustment.

In the meantime, remember this–it’s none of your business what other people think of you. We live in a society that is quick to judge and quicker to publish judgement on social media.

“Put your own mask on first.”

Finally, a piece of advice from creative coach Peleg Top. ‘Put your own mask on first’. Take care of yourself–first. Mums, that means you, too!

Last year we took the family to Bali to unwind and take stock of where our lives were at. Sometimes it feels like we’ve dropped the ball, too. Falling behind in kids home learning, haven’t completed the house renovations, relationship challenges, dealing with our fur baby passing away and so on. Getting away doesn’t make the challenges go away–they’re still there when we get home. However, stepping away from the noise of the daily grind creates enough space to see things differently and allow a new perspective to land on the table, like a UFO, and say “hey! freaky zombie-like pleasure-seeking possession-gathering money-obsessed Earthlings, try looking at life from this angle instead”.

Until your UFO arrives just adjust course, keep trying and remember that you are amazing!

Dan.