4 Baby Steps to Help You Push Your Limits
This weekend I was on babysitting duty. My brother and his wife took a well-deserved weekend off, and I was left to care for their two toddlers. Though I was the one directing their playtime and learning activities, the toddlers ended up teaching me a thing or two about what it means to be extraordinary.
Long time followers of my blog know I write frequently on the topics of harnessing fear and taking smart risks. These are the necessary components to living out loud.
When it comes to pushing the envelope, toddlers know a great deal about the topic. Fear has yet to work itself into their vocabulary, and they conduct their lives unfiltered. A thing we adults aspire to learn or to remember.
Here are four “baby” steps I learned from my two little heroes that I challenge you to put into practice.
Jump in with both feet.
The girls were presented with a brand new stamp kit. I hung back to see how they would tackle learning something new. Niece #1 (age 7) read over the directions, which sounded even to me like poorly written mumbo-jumbo. Seeing I wasn’t going to be much help, she suggested to her little sister (age 5) that they do a test run on a scrap paper. They tested out the various size stamps to see how much ink was required and how much pressure was needed to create the shapes. When they make a mistake, they grabbed another scrap paper and tried something different.
Lesson for us: When learning something new, take the attitude of, “let’s see what happens.” Don’t demand instant perfection.
Get excited about experimenting.
The possibility of creating something from nothing energized the toddlers into action. Not limiting themselves to whatever was available in the kit, the girls used their thumbs and pinkie fingers to come up with new textures and shapes.
Lesson for us: Let lose your imagination. Approach whatever new project as an experiment and not be so overly focused on end results. This will free us to experience flow and lose ourselves in the process of creation.
Allow yourself to be satisfied.
The girls appear to know when to put down their work and pronounced it done. We, adults, are endless tweakers.
Lesson for us: Tweaking is not the same as innovating.
Be your own cheerleader.
Though I remained close by, the girls chose to work independently, and their drawings showed originality, imagination, and a great deal of flair. When done, their faces beamed with pride and satisfaction; my compliments only served to confirm what they already know about themselves and the quality of their creation.
Lesson for us: When someone acknowledges your work, refrain from saying, “It was nothing.” Learn to accept compliments and treat them as fuel for your creativity.
Your turn: What lessons have children taught you about the richness of life?
- Being Present
- Getting Off the Couch
- Life Lessons from Sports
- Mental Clutter
- Overcoming Challenge
- Overcoming Sadness
- Positive Attitude
- Positive Self-Talk
- Taking Action