Getting in tune in work and life

My daughter recently started singing in tune, this after several years of belting out the songs of Katy Perry, Pink, Taylor Swift and other artists in her beautifully and happily dissonant way.

I don’t know about the child developmental factors that paved the way for this. What I do know, however, is that if I had spent the past couple of years trying to rigorously teach her to sing in tune, it’s possible she would have gone silent. Instead, I gave her the time and space to sing happily, screechily (and sometimes annoyingly) out of tune. I gave her the opportunity to do it incorrectly, so to speak. And little by little, she is starting to find her notes. Little by little, she is learning to carry a tune.

We can be so patient with our children, allowing them the time and space to explore, grow and develop their skills and strengths. What would happen if we were to allow ourselves the same opportunity? What if, instead of beating ourselves up every single time we fail at something, we allow ourselves to try it again, and to fail at it again? At some point, a truly big learning would occur and, I imagine, we’d find ourselves singing.

This year, I have decided to allow myself the freedom to try and fail in several areas of my life and work. I invite you to do the same — here are some guidelines to help you make it happen:

  1. Identify an area of life in which you are stagnant, stuck, in the muckiest of muck
  2. Make a list of the many ideas you’ve been concocting in your head, the many ideas that you know will get you out of this stuck place. Make a list, on paper, not in your head. (You know I hate it when you keep all that brilliance hidden!)
  3. Cut up each idea, put ‘em in a jar
  4. Pick one. Commit to trying it.
  5. If you succeed, pick another.
  6. If you fail at it, 1) you don’t get to beat up on yourself, and 2) you get to try it again, perhaps in a modified form, but you get to try it again, and again, and again until you get it right.

Here’s to a year of getting in tune by starting out of tune!

From the Sandbox,