I sometimes wonder if my kids get the fuzzy end of the lollipop, by having a Mentor-Mum. Whilst I believe that all conscientious parents fulfill a mentoring role, by offering their children the benefit of their wisdom, experience, guidance and counsel, I do wonder if my kids would rather I work i.e.: as a lifeguard at a swimming pool, or as a taste tester for Cadbury.
The reason I began contemplating navel fluff again this time came about on the school run one morning this week. As we live a few miles away from the kids' schools, we drive and on this particular morning we were having a devil's own job getting out of a junction; traffic was heavy and we had a Honda Civic in front of us waiting to turn right. Time was getting on, so Honda Civic decided to inch out into the middle of the road (as there was no traffic from the right), so that someone from the left would give way, and they duly let us both out. This is where my kids may get the fuzzy end of the lollipop.
Instead of just driving the kids to school, listening to music and making plans for the evening, I saw a learning opportunity from what had just happened with the traffic, so I pointed it out to the kids (aged twelve and seven). In life, you are perfectly within your rights to choose and just sit there, waiting for a break or an opportunity to present itself to you. Who knows, the break/opportunity may even go ahead and manifest itself for you, just like that? But what if it doesn't manifest itself? How long are you going to wait? What's your backup plan? Is passively waiting ever the best decision?
The alternative is to take action, be proactive and make your intentions clear, to yourself as much as to everyone else. Of course there was a distinct possibility Honda Civic could have been stranded in the middle of road, as motorists from the left refused to give way, but Honda Civic demonstrated their clear intent. By inching out, they made it clear they were not prepared to passively wait any longer, and they quickly found support from where they might not otherwise have found it, had they not made their intentions clear and taken action. This metaphor applies to you too.
Are you a procrastinating waiter or a decisive incher? Are you passive or proactive? How do you demonstrate your intentions, desires and requirements to the rest of us? Do you even know what your intentions, desires and requirements are? Are you currently erring towards the passive, but wanting to become more proactive? Please call me if you would like some help with this, because I can help you effect the change you need to propel your progress.
The lesson for my kids in respect of these circumstances was manifold.
1) To begin with they had a clear demonstration of how Intention + Implementation = Results. To have sat waiting for a break may have brought them what they wanted, but action ensured it. As a general rule of thumb, only wishing for things will leave you cold and hungry whilst you wait. Action will always delineate and define you.
Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking - W. B. Yeat
2) Of course there was a risk of failure, there will always be a risk of failure in everything you do, but is that really a reason not to try? By all means do your research, make your preparations and mitigate your losses, but you must eventually take action. For those of you contemplating doing something, but are sabotaging your chances of success by thinking “...but what if I fail?”, let me ask you this; but what if you win? Your thinking creates your reality. You attract what you repeatedly think about, whether you want it or not, so be confident and positive in all of your thoughts and actions, to attract favourable outcomes. Then work harder than you ever imagined possible until you achieve your success.
3) Can we also stop perceiving failure as something bad, could we please just call it learning? From now on, would you think of the word fail as an acronym for First Attempt In Learning? So called failures are merely lessons, which teach and guide us on how to do a thing bigger, better, smarter, harder, faster. There is no shame in failing, the only shame is not learning from the experience and trying again. Winners never quit and quitters never win, it's that simple.
4) By taking action you never know what previously unseen, unanticipated opportunities will unfold before you. Honda Civic inched out into the road with no guarantee of success, but they endeavoured anyway. As is often the case, fortune favours the brave and, not only did an opportunity to progress present itself, but Honda Civic was in exactly the right place to seize that opportunity.
The harder I work, the luckier I get - Benjamin Franklin
All of this from a three minute delay at a junction on the way to school. Now do you think my kids get the fuzzy end of the lollipop by having a Mentor-Mum? The thing is, I find inspiration and life lessons everywhere, in everything, and I believe it's my job to pass on the learning – to anyone and everyone, but it's especially easy if they're trapped in a car with me with no place to run!
Seriously though, if you choose to walk around with your eyes closed to the inspiration and lessons all around us, of course you will be diminishing your chances to grow - and your rate of growth at that too. Another thing to be mindful of; lessons will repeat again and again until they are full and learned, so why not live fully in each moment and take as much from it as you can, learn the lesson quickly and efficiently and make headway with your life? Can I recommend you watch Groundhog Day (if you haven't already), to further support this point?
There's so much life out there, there's so much opportunity, but you have to be willing, vigilant and ready to pounce when it (finally) makes itself available to you. Think of yourself as a big cat, hunting. Think of your research, planning, preparation and slog as stalking your prey; this may take much longer than you want, or had planned for, but all the while you are inching closer, closer, closer. Then a beast breaks off from the herd and your opportunity presents itself. If you had still been lolling in the shade (i.e.: comfort zone) under a tree, you would not be well placed to seize this opportunity, but you have put in the hard yards, and you are now ready to pounce and optimise.
Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor - H. Jackson Brown Jr
Thankfully my kids enjoy having these Honda Civic-esque life lessons unveiled to them. There are plenty of “Oh yeah!” imaginary overhead light bulbs being switched on, and I would like to believe I am teaching them to think more deeply, whilst living more mindfully. If this means they are perceived to be getting the fuzzy end of lollipop by having a Mentor-Mum, then so be it, I can live with that. After all, the alternative is not to talk to them, not to impart learning, not to guide and inspire them – and what kind of mum would that make me then? Fuzzy-ended lollipops all round I say, and let's encourage our new generations to be thinkers, doers and achievers, rather than 24/7 gaming zombies and dropouts.
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