More often than not, I run across “life tools”…quotes, stories, articles, exercises, etc…that are better than I could write or create, and they are often too good not to share. So, I pass them along on Ronnie B’s life tools. This post by Linda Mastro fits the bill. I hope you find it as enjoyable and thought-provoking as I did.
A guy falls down a hole…
I admit it. I’m hooked on Netflix and its Instant Watch feature. With a wireless router hooked to my computer I can click on thousands of movies and decades worth of TV shows.
At the end of one of those days when I don’t have a brain cell left to read a book, I unwind with the quirky characters of Brothers and Sisters, Grey’s Anatomy and Mad Men. I indulge my darker self with the violent desperation of Breaking Bad and the devious legal entanglements of Damages, and satisfy my love of British culture and countrysides watching Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife.
One show that I have cycled through several times is The West Wing. President Jed Bartlett (portrayed by Martin Sheen) and his White House staff are the kind of smart, clever and passionately flawed people with whom I like to work and play. I recently watched an episode in which Chief of Staff Leo McGarry, a seasoned politician and a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, welcomes back his staffer Josh Lyman, who had suffered a nervous breakdown. Leo tells Josh this story:
A guy falls down a hole.
A doctor walks by, sees the guy, throws down a prescription and walks away.
A priest walks by, sees the guy, says a prayer and walks away.
A friend walks by, sees the guy and jumps in.
The guy says, “What’re you doing? Now we’re both down here!”
The friend says, “I’ve been here before. I know the way out.”
Leo was telling his protege that he was welcome back and that he was not alone.
Holes come in many forms. It may be the frustration of losing and regaining the same 10, 15 or 20 pounds. The avalanche of clutter that piles up no matter how many times you make a pledge to keep the top of your desk (or dining room table, kitchen counters, guest room) neat and organized can feel like a bottomless pit of defeat.
Instead of a deep hole, you may be in a well-worn rut of unkept promises. You vow to say “No” to requests for your help so that you have time to exercise, relax or have more fun then find yourself sitting at another committee meeting for a community fundraiser. You spend an hour on the phone listening to a friend complain – again – when you would rather be soaking in the tub.
Listening to Leo tell Josh the story about the guy in the hole, I had my own “AHA!” moment. Sometimes I think that because I am a coach I need to be a model of wellness. Unless I am fit and well-fed, efficient and calm I have no business posing as someone who can help others achieve their personal goals. But what if my own shortcomings – the forsaken diets, the abandoned gym memberships, the relationship snafus – actually make me a more empathetic, humble and wise coach?
As a coach I don’t have to be perfect. In fact my missteps and misadventures – and how I recover from them – help me better understand what it takes to break a habit and design a new way of living. My life experiences – along with my training, skills and intuition – give me insights that I might have missed if I hadn’t learned to navigate the bumps in the road of life.
The mistakes we make as parent, spouse, friend and leader help us learn new skills and grow beyond what we think we already know.
If you find yourself at the bottom of a deep hole or treading the same old rut, consider…
- Who do I know who has been here before?
- What can I learn while I am down here?
- Who can I help now that I have found my way up and out?
Wishing you grace, peace and simple abundance…and that you will become stronger, better and wiser from the insights gained from navigating the missteps and misadventures in your life.