Mission Possible

As we approach the 31 day mark of this blogging blitz, I thought I’d recall another time when I agreed to a mission I thought might be impossible.

 ·       The Time: July and August 2005.  
·         The Place: Dallas, Texas
·         The Mission Should We Choose to Accept It:Deliver 13 workshops in 6 weeks for  Dallas Area Rapid Transit employees who may or may not be receptive to our message
·         Bonus Challenge:  Turn in final manuscript for Body Confidence from the Inside Out during same time period

It was anyone’s guess whether the mission would be accomplished or I would self-destruct in 6 weeks.

Fortunately, I had my trusty business partner Tom by my side to drive us to the gigs, schlep our stuff back and forth, keep our wits about us, and remind me of why we would willingly choose a career that involved standing up in front of strangers in an attempt to convince them we knew something they didn’t.

As I looked back at some of the things I wrote during that time, I realized these are the war stories, the legends that live on from the Chippewa on down, the true grit, the mythic journey, or the character building moments that make these missions worth risking life and limb.  

I’ll share with you something I wrote from that summer that holds true today.

For the second time this summer we’ve turned the equivalent of the Titanic around in time to prevent the whole ship from sinking. I’m not boasting when I tell you this. I’m thrilled to be conveying this to you as I rearrange the deck chairs instead of bobbing around in the water waiting for a life boat. 

I’ve spent plenty of time treading water. Whether I’ve gone overboard, been sentenced to walk the plank, or simply jumped in because I thought the water was fine, I have been “all wet” more than a time or two.  Luckily, I have managed to swim to shore and find a dry towel. 
At last I’m starting to trust the process.  At last I understand I’m making more mistakes because I’m taking more risks.  At last I consider becoming a better swimmer a side benefit of all this splashing about.

Still it surprises me how often I have to take a dive.  That’s why seeing the signs, responding to them, and actually averting a crisis is worth celebrating.

I can hope for miracles.  But the real miracle is that I act on my own behalf and change my attitude, change the conditions of my situation, or renegotiate my agreements.   

Averaging two workshops a week for the past month, I’ve heard myself say certain things enough times now that I finally get them.  We left our workshop on Wednesday elated that we had earned high fives and hugs instead of rotten tomatoes or worse, apathy.  As we were contemplating this reversal of fortune Tom said, “What if they weren’t different?  What if we were different?” 

It was true. This group was especially open to learning and eager to participate.  But we were different too.

Sometime over the weekend I stopped taking it all so personally and stopped pining for my quiet casita in the mountains.  I realized I have no control over whether the people I speak to like me, like the material, like themselves, like their jobs, like their lives, etc.  I have no control over the heat, the traffic, or whether the Rough Riders (the local minor league baseball team) win.

I can only love what I do and love the people in the room.  I can believe in myself and believe in them.  We can all have some fun and extend that energy to others on our path.  That’s really the only way we make our mission possible.
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