Topic of the Week
Here’s a newsletter rebroadcast while I’m in London. Enjoy!
Stretch, Grow & Find Joy!
Yesterday I participated in a fundraising golf tournament with my mom and dad, some of my brothers and sisters, and my husband, Michael. It was a beautiful, late summer day with bright sunshine, a gentle breeze, and plenty of excited players. Although I’m not a golfer, I too, was excited to spend the day outside in nature with my family. That said, I wasn’t excited to golf.
As Michael and I drove to the club, I felt nervous and edgy. Lost in thought, I remembered a time, long ago, when I took golf lessons and was asked to leave the course my first time out because I was taking too long. Now I was expecting the worst, imagining all the things that could possibly go wrong and strategizing about how to handle them.
As soon as we pulled up to the course, my nervousness escalated. I felt intimidated by the serious looking golfers (most of whom were men) who had already started to play. Fortunately, my dad (who was running the event) scheduled our group to tee off last. Smart man, my dad . Without the pressure of holding people up, we had an absolute blast! Here’s what I learned:
1. Say “yes!” When presented with a new opportunity that challenges you to stretch outside your comfort zone, make your default position a resounding “yes!” Sure you can weigh your options, see if the opportunity makes sense, or spend time determining whether or not you’re qualified to participate, but do yourself a favor and work your way backwards from “yes.” Start with the assumption that all will be well and look for what’s right about making the decision to do it.
2. Keep an open mind. Once you’ve decided to engage in a new activity, temper your tendency to prejudge the experience. Show up open, with a clear heart and mind, and be willing to step into the role of student. Since I’m often in the position of teacher, it’s a challenge for me to shut off my know-it-all mind. Instead, I naturally look for what I already know as a way to feel comfortable, and I certainly don’t ask for help. But I’ve been growing . As soon as I heard my brother-in-law, Walter (a really good golfer), give my sister Lisa helpful pointers, I invited him to coach me on the next hole. And I became coachable. I listened carefully, and did what he told me to do. I allowed him to correct my stance, the position of my arms, and the direction of my club. As a result, I ended up with one of the best shots I’ve ever had in my short history of golfing!
3. Surrender to the experience. I don’t know about you, but I find the older I get, the less interested I am in overanalyzing or judging how an opportunity might play out once I’ve decided to go for it. I say “yes” and surrender to whatever happens. Over the years, I’ve wasted too much energy trying to control a situation to keep myself safe. Time and again I find that if you let go, trust in the inherent goodness of the Life, and show up present and ready, you give yourself the best chance of experiencing joy. And I’m all about joy these days…
Every day we’re given opportunities to stretch, grow, and experience something wonderful and new. It might be a chance to have a delightful, brief conversation with a stranger, or an opportunity to use our creative muscles in a new way at work. How often do you see them? And how often do you say “yes” to them? If this seems like a foreign concept, I invite you to take this week’s challenge. When you do, please visit Facebook.com/cherylrichardson and tell me what happens!