Family/CommunicationLeadershipUncategorizedJune 18, 20130Miracles with a Twist — 06/18/13

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…



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