Getting Up, Again

Many of my coaching clients think I live a charmed life. I’m so patient. I have such insight. How could my life not be bliss-laden and peaceful? When I sold my artwork at art festivals people would come up to me and say, “You are so lucky!

Nope, it's not upside down, it's a cold front reflected in a puddle.

Nope, it’s not upside down, it’s a cold front reflected in a puddle.

You get to do fun things all day long, never have a worry in the world.” I learned to reply, “Yes, I do get to make art, and I’m grateful every day.” I never yelled at them, “Do you have any idea how hard it is to come up with idea and make a bunch of mistakes before your figure it out and then fix it before it works?” I did not do that because I would not have ever sold another piece in my entire art festival existence.

Other people’s lives seem easier, less stressed, not as hard, and certainly not as complicated as our own. That’s a better thing to believe than that everyone’s life could be sold as damaged seconds and someone else would be foolish enough to snap it up.

Everyone who is living a real life makes huge mistakes, does not learn from them the first time, makes them again. I wouldn’t want to work with anyone who has not risked and lost.

The reason this blog has insights, tips, Aha! moments and how-to’s is because I made the mistakes it took to learn them. All of them. Several times over. It is more important for clients (and readers)—to know that it’s not how often you feel stupid, but how often you get up, dust yourself off and start over. Learning is the heart of creativity, and risking is the brain.

So when the bombings happened in Boston yesterday, I did feel fear. I was in D.C. when the plane ran into the Pentagon. Yes, I felt fear. You did, too. What we (who are not in charge, but who feel unsure about life) can do to fight terrorism is to be fair to everyone in our work and play, to be kind, to be generous. That’s enough. Be the person who calms, not stirs the pot. Be the person who steers the conversation to interesting ideas and away from speculation.

We can’t control our fear when we hear bad news. But we can always control our actions in the wake of fear.

–Quinn McDonald is happy she is teaching grammar again tomorrow. There is something solid about teaching sentence structure in a time of uncertainty.