So, as is usually the case, the baby watch yielded a baby: Charlotte Autumn Van Carpels, born June 5th at 11:50am. Everybody’s happy and healthy (and, in Charlotte’s case, teeny and gorgeous). One thing I noticed, though, is that things didn’t happen quite the way we’d planned: Patrick wasn’t involved at all in the birth — he’d had to fly to Indianapolis two days before in response to a family emergency. So I picked up Hannah and she stayed with me overnight…and no one went to the birthing center except the new Mom and Dad since Charlotte decided to be born in record time. So I met Charlotte the next day (and had the joy of watching her big sister meet her for the first time, as well), and Patrick met her on Saturday.
Not exactly what we had in mind. And still: astonishing, joyful, miraculous.
Not limiting life to our measure…
I recently listened to someone complaining about his team. As his complaints unfolded, it sounded to me as though his team was actually pretty great: smart people, committed to doing good work, working hard to accomplish the objectives for which they were being held accountable. They were respectful of one another’s opinions and expertise, and they worked well together. No big interpersonal issues. Lots of success. At one point I said, “So the main thing that bugs you about your team is that they’re kind of serious.”
He stopped. “Yeah, well, I guess that’s it,” he said. “I just wish they were more fun; no one wants to hang after work, and there’s not a lot of laughing.”
How often do we overlook the 98% that’s great in a situation or in an outcome because we get obsessed about the 2% that wasn’t what we had in mind? Not even that the alternative 2% is worse — it’s just different. Not what we would have preferred or had planned for.
Here’s a challenge for you. Next time you find yourself irritated, disappointed or upset about something not turning out the way you’d hoped, stop and ask yourself these three questions: “Is this really worse than what I wanted?” “Is there any real reason I can’t be just as satisfied with this?” “Are the ways in which this might actually be better?”
Planning is a great thing, but a big part of the art of planning is being able to flex your plans to accommodate reality as it unfolds.
Till next time…