Blog

Spinning Plates

Hello!

One of the acts on the old Ed Sullivan TV show was a man who kept about 16 plates spinning at the top of tall, thin poles. One-by-one, he would start a plate spinning on top of a pole, then move to the next pole. He was constantly checking previous plates and returning to keep them spinning. After some time, all the plates are spinning, and he gets a round of applause from the audience.

I have often used the analogy of “spinning plates” to explain all the work, jobs, and tasks I am trying to keep balanced every day. It seemed to fit my frantic, hectic, chaotic life. It wasn’t until recently that I viewed the spinning plates analogy from a different angle.

From a distance, I see a person taking on a challenge of his own choosing and creation. He pushes himself to take on more and more plates to spin simultaneously. He spends time – sometimes a great amount of time – checking the spinning plates as he adds yet another plate to spin. He is constantly moving, almost frantically, alternating his attention among an ever-increasing number of spinning plates. Eventually, after all that effort and constant movement, all plates are spinning. He has his “Ta-da!” moment and receives his praise. Then, the next moment, all the plates start dropping off and falling. Seen from this perspective, using the spinning plates act as the analogy for my life gives me pause to wonder:

Why?

Why would I take on so many tasks and assignments? Why would I continue to add more tasks when I am frantically moving to balance the tasks I already have? Am I seeking the satisfaction of the “Ta-da!” moment when I have all my tasks going? Am I seeking the praise?

The “Ta-da!” moment is fleeting. While I am taking my bows before an appreciative audience, the tasks are starting to fall/fail. I have exhausted myself in the process and can no longer catch the tasks before they drop. Success – sweet and temporary in this case – comes at a high price: pure exhaustion and the crashing of plates all around me. I look at the broken plates and wonder: What did all of this accomplish? What lasting results did it create? Of what service to others are broken plates?

It’s time for a new analogy, a new approach to my life. Don’t try to be everything to everyone – it’s exhausting, and I end up being of no help to anyone, including myself. Focus on a single large Goal, Dream BIG! Limit the tasks I take on to those that lead me to my Goal, that make my Dream materialize. Distractions, such as being tied to my inbox looking at all the great offers, spending hours on Facebook reading everyone’s post to find the ones that resonate and give me new insights toward my Ultimate Goal, and watching an informative YouTube is great, but becoming distracted by the attraction of the millions of other videos, steals time and does not progress me toward my Goal. Giving in to distractions leads me back to the “spinning plates” mentality, the “shiny object” syndrome, the “squirrel!” chase.

I’m not going to remove these attractions/distractions totally – they provide humor, insights, a break from the routine, and a whole host of other responses and feelings that make life interesting. However, I will not become lost in them, enmeshed in them, and taken off my path toward my one Goal, my true purpose and mission, which requires my full attention, focus, and commitment.

I will no longer see how many plates I can keep spinning – the only purpose of which is to prove that I can. I pick a few of the tasks that are on my path, reimaging my analogy to a “Journey,” a grand venture toward the fulfillment of a Goal much larger than myself. I do not stray from my path, to see trinkets and glitter in the bushes. However, I am rewarded with nuggets of joy, insights, tools, help, and inspiration on my path. I can reach my Goal by focusing on my path – expending much less kinetic, chaotic, spinning energy in the process. The Goal I have is well worth the journey.

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”Napoleon Hill

Blessings,

Jo

www.Jo-Calk.com

 

 

 

Blog

We Are All Prophets

Hello!

We hear a lot about “self-fulfilling prophecies” when we think the worst, and the worst happens. The belief behind a self-fulfilling prophecy is: you focus on, think about, and/or worry about something so long and so hard that your worst fears actually come true.

How about when we think the best, and the best happens? What about your best dreams and hopes? Could they come true if you put the same amount of focus and thought into them?

You betcha!

We are more accustomed to worrying about a fearful event happening in our lives than we are to dreaming, hoping, wishing, and expecting joyous and happy events. You get what you focus on. Can we start – and continue – to think of a brighter, happier future for ourselves? Can we consciously choose thoughts and actions that lead to that joyful future?

We have trained ourselves to constantly think negatively, so we now have the opportunity to choose to think positively. Let’s turn “self-fulfilling prophecy” into a wonderful outcome, a descriptive term for the way we are joyously living our lives every day.

We are all prophets of our own lives. Let’s prophesize health, abundance, happiness, and joy for ourselves and for others. Let every thought we focus on and every action we take lead toward the goal of self-fulfilling the beneficial prophecy of our choosing.

Blessings,

Jo

 

Blog

Good? Bad? None of the Above

Hello!

The oldest joke I can remember is from junior high school (so don’t expect high literature here):

  • I went on a small plane trip.
  • Oh, that’s good.
  • No, that’s bad – the plane developed engine trouble.
  • Oh, that’s bad.
  • No, that’s good – I put on a parachute.
  • Oh, that’s good.
  • No, that’s bad – couldn’t get the door open.
  • Oh, that’s bad.
  • No, that’s good – opened the window and jumped out.
  • Oh, that’s good.
  • No, that’s bad – the parachute wouldn’t open.
  • Oh, that’s bad.
  • No, that’s good – saw a haystack below me.
  • Oh, that’s good.
  • No, that’s bad – there was a pitchfork sticking up from the haystack.
  • Oh, that’s bad.
  • No, that’s good – missed the pitchfork.
  • Oh, that’s good.
  • No, that’s bad – missed the haystack.

 I thought of that old joke when I heard MBA professor Srikumar Rao tell his (much shorter) version:

  • A man is laid off from work due to budget cuts.
  •  Good news? Bad news? Who knows?
  • Later, the company shuts down and everyone loses their job.
  • Because the man had been laid off earlier, he was given a large severance package and started his own business. Had he remained with the company, he would have received nothing.

The problem with labeling things, events, or people as “good” or “bad” is that the labels are little boxes with rigid sides. No thing, event, or person fits into a little box – each is multilayered with aspects that range the entire spectrum between “good” and “bad.” Perhaps try to look at the various layers of a situation or a person, rather than boxing your thinking into a narrow-minded on/off switch.

I try to eliminate the words “good” and “bad” in my thinking, speaking, and writing (except this blog, of course). Perhaps you will join me and see the full range and depth of every experience, rather than a bunch of plain, brown boxes. Maybe choose words such as “like” or “prefer” or “don’t like” for events and experiences. Maybe eliminate judgment on the first meeting of a person. Look past the clothing, the color of the skin, the accent, the height, the weight, and the overall appearance of the person. Talk with the person and find out what that person and you have in common, and what differences there may be from which you could learn something new or perhaps you have something new to share with the other person – at an individual-to-individual (or one aspect of Source talking with another aspect of Source) level. See the various layers of that person, and then choose whether you wish to continue with the conversation or move on to another person. You may be surprised at the interesting people – and some new friends – you meet this way.

Open your world to new experiences, free of little brown boxes.

Blessings,

Jo