The Greatest Problems Often Hide The Greatest Opportunities
Dear Lovely Loyal Readers how I have missed you! In the last but one blog I laid before you I wrote: “Usually if I don’t manage to sit here and write about life it’s because I’m too busy living it!” and little did I know how predictive that comment would be. Life indeed got so intense that I was compelled to lay down my keyboard and actually concentrate on living. My apologies for my absence. Now I shall be getting back into the swing of things, ready to pass along to you any inspiration that comes my way and it’s lovely to be home!
Well here we are, just into Thursday, at least from where I’m sitting, and I’ve just come back from Toastmasters. Toastmasters is a speakers club where we all take turns to stand up and speak, and then we help each other work on our speaking technique. It’s all quite formal and very organized, and for me because I often find myself in front of an audience, it’s a great way of ‘sharpening the saw’ and making sure I can get my message across clearer and better each time I present – see how much I love the people I work with?
This week I got home earlier than from the last meeting a fortnight ago, due to the fact that this week I didn’t find a dead-but-still-warm-maybe-it’s-not-actually-dead-I’d-better-call-the-RSPCA-oh-shame-it-actually-is-dead-and-oh-dear-now-it’s-2am-hedgehog in the middle of the road, so I’ve arrived back home with a certain amount of gumption still available to me, and I’ve decided the time is now – time to jump back into the blogging pool with a splash!
I thought I’d tell you all about my inspirational evening at Toastmasters tonight. This week I’d volunteered/been talked into being the General Evaluator for the evening which is a formidable role, and one I’ve never done before. You have to sit at the back of the room for the whole meeting, assess everything that happens, notice the good stuff and give recommendations for improvement. At the end of the meeting you stand up for 10 minutes or so and report all this back. I’ve always avoided this role because it means so much to so many people that I wasn’t sure how well I would deliver what was needed.
Tonight when I got there, I skidded in at the last minute, really wasn’t very organized when introducing my team of evaluators, and when it came to informing the audience of what I was there to do, I actually ended by showing them ‘fingers crossed’ and telling them “I’ll do my best”. Not what you’d call the strongest of starts. I was nervous. Throughout the meeting I sat there at the back, making notes and hoping I could serve the room as I needed to when the time came to report back at the end. I decided I would simply go through my notes, in order, and not try any high shenanigans, just deliver the information.
Eventually I was called to the stage. I don’t know what happened to me. I’ve recently noticed it actually that when I have inspiring content to deliver to an audience that it’s almost like something takes me over and the job just gets done – it’s almost like I become an observer and the information just comes through me. And it happened again tonight. I was on fire! You wouldn’t think a general evaluation could be that interesting, but somehow it came out funny and engaging and above all useful. When I finished I got one of the biggest claps I’ve ever had, and the whole energy in the room had gone up a notch. Several people congratulated me, and the president of the club said that whatever I was on, she wanted some! To cap it all off, a colleague from the club whom I greatly admire for his splendid speaking skills told me that my report was ‘jealousy inducing’, that he himself wouldn’t be able to do the report in that style, and he’s happy that our club has someone that can! You can bet I flew home this evening, drunk on having done a splendid job.
Why am I telling you all this? Certainly not to brag. As I’ve said, I don’t know what came over me, only that I surrendered to something and the report came out brilliant. I just think there’s a great moral here. How often do we think that we can’t do something and we’re so convinced that we never even try? I was actually afraid to be the general evaluator, which is quite silly considering that I life coach for a living, and that I’m regularly up on my feet in front of an audience. But when I accepted the role, something in me stepped up to the mark. In fact I think all I had to do was step out of my own way and let my unconscious higher inspiration get on with it!
As regular readers will know, I am Jewish and occasionally share with you little things that inspire me from inside Judaism. Well in the Jewish calendar we are currently in a period of communal mourning called ‘The 9 Days’ which will culminate this year on Sunday 29th July in a day called ‘The 9th of Av’, the saddest and most unlucky day in the Jewish calendar. To me the energy during this time period is palpably heavy, and quite honestly every year (along with lots of other Jews, I’m sure) I can’t wait for the 9th of Av to pass, and take all the heaviness of spirit with it. And yet there is a flip side. Somebody told me the other day apparently we have a tradition that the dawn of an enlightened world age will begin on the 9th of Av one year and that all the mourning will be turned to a corresponding amount of joy and celebration forevermore. Stand by on the 29th July … it’s 2012 after all … it could be this year!
I was thinking about all this in a wider context as I drove home tonight, and I was thinking “Isn’t that pattern true generally?” It brought to mind a quote I recently heard, I’m not sure who said it. It goes something like: ‘Pay attention to the problems in life because the greatest problems often hide the greatest opportunities’. It’s just so true, isn’t it? The bigger the problem that you solve, the more potent and positive the result. That’s why the 9th of Av has such great potential. Because it’s such a terrible day, when it gets turned inside out, it can only ever be absolutely brilliant. In the wider context, it’s such a great way to change our thinking to realize that problems are actually positive things, because once you push through them, the result on the other side is more than worth the effort. For this reason, the thing you are most afraid of doing is probably the thing that will benefit you the most if you just jump in and get on with it. Additionally it is often the case that once you do break through to the other side, the so called problem often just crumbles away, as if it was never there in the first place. Perhaps the problem was just an illusion all along, it’s only purpose being to get you to step up to the next level in your life. Once you’ve done that, of course the problem vanishes – it has done it’s job!
Most of all, tonight I got a timely reminder that to push yourself beyond your comfort zone is a fantastic and rewarding thing. To quote Tony Robbins: “Everything grows or dies, contributes or is eliminated”. What a compelling quote! Dunno about you, but I’m gonna keep growing and contributing, pushing through any challenges that come my way, and bringing you anything I learn in the process 🙂
Have a joyous week, get out there and be you!