One of the most challenging things to do in baseball is hit a curve ball. Especially the nasty ones. When I played ball in high school, we used to practice with whiffle balls to try and get used to the spin and trajectory of the pitch. But nothing compared to the real thing.
In the heat of the battle, the eyes of the spectators are on you. If a strong, tall lefty unleashes a big bender, your mind suddenly goes into decision-by-committee mode. Your upper body lunges forward, eager to pounce on the offering that is slower than a fastball. Your knees buckle, as if to say, “Mayday! Mayday! It’s coming right for us!” Meanwhile, your feet turn into cement blocks, paralyzed by indecision.
Best case scenario, you take a pretty good cut at the ball, maybe even put it into play. Worst case scenario, you look like a drunk gardener with spaghetti arms trying to whack a wasp with a rake.
When you travel the country speaking to audiences about using strategies from childhood to bring about less stress, you put yourself in a challenging position. Sure, you have lots of people looking at you, admiring your wit and insights. But on the other hand, you have lots of people looking at you. You’d better be walking the talk.
I heard Dr. Sue Morter say that you never have to worry about walking the talk if you just talk the walk. I like that.
Crafting speeches, writing books, and espousing theories is like using whiffle balls to practice hitting a curve ball. It’s a good start, but it’s what happens during the game that counts.
And no matter what field you’re in, the game of life throws you a lot of curve balls.
So it really comes at no surprise that as Kim and I find ourselves smack dab in the middle of “crazy time” (a 27-day, 11 speaking gig, 5-state stretch in which we’re home for less than 4 days, with a wedding thrown in to boot), a few curve balls would come our way. Stress is coming in spades, and how we handle it is the real test.
I should’ve known we’d be in trouble when Kim mentioned on Sunday night that she needed everything to go perfectly this week for everything to get done. We woke up the next morning to discover that our car had been the victim of a hit-and-run, to the tune of $2,500 in damage.
Hello, curve ball.
Well, we were not exactly thrilled about this turn of events, but then again, you can’t hope to have any credibility talking about handling stress if you melt down when the going gets tough. So we vented, took a deep breath, and moved forward. We thanked God no one was hurt. We laughed about the irony in timing between Kim’s comment and the incident. We’ve managed to figure out what to do about transportation in a week that involves two road trips, while still attempting to purge as much as our to-do lists as possible. But we’re not driving ourselves to the bone. We had a nice dinner at Chili’s Monday night to support a good cause and we took time out to watch the season premieres of Heroes and CSI: Miami, two of our favorite shows. On Wednesday, we had the opportunity to visit my grandma in the nursing home and have a nice dinner with my parents.
We’re trying to keep laughing, not take ourselves too seriously, exhibit a childlike faith that everything will work out in the end, and keep in mind that in less than a month, we’ll probably forget this week ever happened. And my childlike curiosity is eager to find out what good will come out of this annoying situation. Interestingly enough, Kim had a nice conversation with the person from Enterprise Rent-A-Car who picked her up. They got talking about their jobs. Long story short, the woman happened to be the manager, was enamored to hear about Adultitis and how we help companies individuals deal with stress, and there may be an opportunity to do some work for Enterprise in the future.
If you ask me, an opportunity like that certainly is worth a $250 deductible and a temporary inconvenience. You can’t control what happens to you, but you can always control how you react. Being negative and focusing on the problem can sometimes cause you to miss an opportunity. Sometimes you just need to slow down and step back to see the bigger picture.
Life will throw you curve balls, and no matter who you are, people are watching, be it your kids, employees, or biggest fans. I guess the lesson is that if you keep a childlike spirit about you, you’ll have a better chance of not looking like a drunk gardener with spaghetti arms.