December 17, 2016

Falling Forward


I took a pretty bad fall on Friday walking to a meeting in Venice, California. Broke the skin on my knees, sprained my arm, shattered the glass on my phone — but actually bolstered my belief in myself and in how the world works.

Rewind three hours. Driving my teen to the school bus in the early morning, I repeatedly harassed the poor kid about his choice to take his brand new cell phone to school without a protective case. “It’s going to break.” “You’re going to drop it.” “You’re going to feel so bad about shattering the screen of your new phone.” As he was leaving the car, reassuring me that he’ll buy a case just as soon as his school day is over, it hit me instantaneously: I was going to break my own phone that day — because of the certainty I put into the emotion I felt, which happened to be fear and worry in this case. When I fell with my phone, three hours later, I looked at the screen and said “I knew it!!” It was almost amusing.

Rewind one day. On the Thursday before my fall, I had two meetings on my calendar. The first was a conference call and the second was a face-to-face. Both meetings were delayed because the executives that set them up had technological difficulties in the first case, and traffic/parking issues in the second. I remarked to my cousin, who was with me that day, that “I am never late” and “being a proud Type A, I always give myself enough time.” As I heard my own words exit my lips I knew I was placing myself in a position to soon learn compassion and empathy and to never say I never.

Fast forward to ten minutes before my fall. I leisurely arrived at my meeting destination in Venice in typical Lee fashion, with an extra fifteen minutes to spare. I gave my student a ride and we both exited the car. I took a confident step towards the meeting point — and then — in a moment of giving up my power, giving in to doubt, and questioning my instinct, my student and I looked up the address on our “smart” phones and proceeded to follow the walking directions, which led us far astray. Noting twenty minutes later that we were on the wrong path, I lost my calm and focus, got stressed out for being lost and late, consulted the phone once again and took a huge, ugly, painful plunge forward.

Current moment. I’m wearing a long dress to work today to cover my badly bruised knees. And every time I sit, stand, walk, climb stairs, and get in and out of my car, I’m grateful for the positively painful reminder that I’m a powerful person with the ability to manifest mindfully. What I think, what I say, what I do — translates into reality almost instantaneously…going to remember to use that power for good :))

The next time you fall — physically or figuratively — reflect on how to turn that stumble into an attitude or action that will propel you forward in life.

Lee Broekman is a communication coach and trainer. Her company Organic Communication, brings interactive, never boring, always edifying presentations and programs — focused on communication, collaboration and innovation — to your firm or organization.