Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Spill happens

I have an exercise for the folks I coach to help give them the courage to be fearless - to take risks and not be afraid to make mistakes.

I put a little milk in a plastic glass.

Then tell them to knock it over.

Spill the milk.

Visibly shaken, terrified, and afraid of what their mothers and fathers will say or do to them, they break through their fears and muster all their will to push the glass over.

Spill milk. On purpose.

Deal is, as soon as the milk is spilled, I give them paper towels and a sponge to clean up the little bit of liquid that has rolled out.

Spill the milk, clean it up.

You spill milk, you clean it up.

That's pretty much life.

Some people are terrified to even touch the glass, let alone tip it over.

But as I explain to them, our bodies are changing all the time. As little kids we're not only uncoordinated, but one day our arms are 12 inches long, the next day they're 13, and we're still used to reaching just 12 inches, so chances are we're going to bang into whatever is beyond 12 inches.

If that's our glass of milk? It's spilled.

No big deal. We just have to clean it up.

Sometimes parents overreact to the results of normal changes. That overreaction is what we recall and that's what scares us.

But when we understand that physiological changes are normal, that spill happens, we don't have to overreact, we can simply clean it up.

It helps our attitude when we're around our own - or other kids when they grow up as well.

If people are not understanding when we accidentally spill milk in a relationship and refuse to let us clean it up? It's a sign that the relationship couldn't hold water to begin with, let alone survive a little spilled milk. And that's unfortunate, but it's better to find that out earlier than later.

Spill happens.

In almost all situations, you can clean it up.

Don't be afraid to risk a little spilled milk when you explore something in which you believe, an emotion you feel you must express, or go after something you want, something you want to do, love to do, wish to do or for which you have a passion.

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