Le Freak, C’est Chic

FREAK OUT

That’s basically what happened at the Super Bowl, where the experienced Denver Broncos got shaken up by the underdog Seattle Seahawks scoring in the first 12 seconds of the game when Seattle swiped the ball in the opening snap before Broncos QB Manning could pass, throw or even catch the thing.

The Broncos never recovered.

This isn’t a game recap—there are others far more knowledgeable than I all over the interwebs publishing just that. I am a sports fan by relationship proxy; my dad covered the Chicago Blackhawks for many years, and my current love is a former linebacker and loyal football fan.

This is about the way a little thing—okay, even a BIG little thing—can throw you off your whole game. If you let it.

There is only one way to escape failure, and that’s to never even try in the first place. American businessman Thomas J. Watson is credited with saying, “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.” But if you prefer a name-brand quote, here’s the sexy one from Michael Jordan (or, more likely, from Nike’s advertising agency’s copywriting team):

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dog diving

Diving In

So I just asked a whole bunch of you to follow my blog. Something that, believe it or not, I’ve never done before, not in the five years I’ve been coaching clients and writing here. I mean, I had the expectation that people would read my blog posts. I just wasn’t being very vocal about it. Kinda like when I used to meander around my front yard hoping the kids across the street would see me and ask me to play.

I took a chance, and I asked for what I wanted: readers! And my first thought was, “Yay me!”

Quickly followed by, “Crap! If I want people to follow my blog, I should give them, like, something to actually READ when they get there!”

Brain lock ensued, followed by longing looks at a bag of cashews on my kitchen counter.

Even if you’ve never written for publication, you may still recognize what I’m doing here: when writers don’t know what to write about, they write about how they don’t know how to write. Or their writer’s block. Or about their process. Or about their scrambling for a process.

How often do talk about what you’re going to do (learn a foreign language lose weight go to the gym clean out the Dreaded Junk Drawer take a painting class) instead of actually going and doing it? How many of you shy away from doing something because if you started it you might have to actually, like, KEEP DOING IT?

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golf ball, maggie mcreynolds blog

Play the Ball Where It Lies

I haven’t hit the greens since I was in high school, but I’m no slouch at miniature golf. I play with my 11-year-old son, who has gotten much better at the sport over the years—and much more graceful about losing. Nonetheless, in the years since I’ve been watching him play, I’ve noticed the parallel between wishing reality were different and wishing one’s ball had landed somewhere else. Both are useless endeavors. Cliches exist because they have wisdom in them; “Play the ball where it lies” is one of the smartest pieces of advice I know.

Smart, and yet also oft-ignored. How many of us waste time and energy wishing we hadn’t landed in the sand traps or water hazards of our lives? Bemoaning how unfair it is that someone else landed right on the green while we’re off and lost in the woods, our ball buried or richocheting randomly off trees?

I could pretend I am not disabled. I could wish my marriage hadn’t come apart. I could get stuck in the “unfairness” of being a single mom, or having one kid instead of a tribe, or having short fingers, or whatever it is that didn’t come out like I thought it would.

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