Have you ever watched a creative cook in the kitchen?
A dash of this, a dollop of that, a pinch of something else... and the next thing you know, you're biting into a delicious concoction for which no recipe exists.
Occasionally this kind of cook misses the mark: a cake flops or the sweet and sour sauce turns out a little too sour. In general though, experimental cooking works out just fine -- and sometimes the combination of flavors blows your mind.
The same approach that can work wonders in the kitchen can also work wonders in your life. Unfortunately, rather than experimenting and "taste testing" along the way many people approach every decision as if life and death hang in the balance. One wrong choice, and BAM! It's over.
The pressure to make the right decision becomes so intense, the tendency can be to do nothing rather than make a wrong decision.
But what if you approached life differently (with a new belief perhaps) and assumed that by and large, most things work out OK and the things that don't, generally aren't major catastrophes?
What if you chose to see each situation for what it really is? A chance to grow.
By giving yourself permission to try something on a temporary basis, you free yourself from the fear of failure.
It's OK if your experiment fails. Testing an idea's merit is what experiments are for. Maybe it will work. Maybe you'll love it. Or maybe you'll decide it isn't for you after all.
You could study a subject that interests you, volunteer with a cause that tugs at your heart, take an internship or short-term apprenticeship, plan a trip to a place you've never been before, take on one client on a freelance assignment.
You don't have to commit for a lifetime, and you might discover something that stirs your soul like never before.
That's what happened for my friend Deby. (Click to listen to our conversation together.)
A few years ago, Deby's voice began to tremble.
As doctors searched for the cause and a cure, her voice weakened until it one day it was completely gone. Deby had been a singer and songwriter all her life and was just beginning a speaking and coaching career. She needed her voice to survive financially.
Through her pain and frustration, Deby heard a voice within her that told her to paint.
"This is play. This is a discovery." Her art teacher Dorsey's instruction to the class was to remain unattached from the work -- to be ready to rip it up and use it in another way. (Click to listen to the conversation I had with Dorsey.)
Dorsey removed all the stress from the learning process -- something Deby desperately needed.
During a time when she couldn't speak, her art served as both a way to express herself and a source of healing.
And Then... A Miracle.
Over the next few months her voice slowly returned, but she knows she will never give up her newfound love of painting. Besides, she has been able to sell several paintings and is using that money to send her teenage grandson to a school in England. Deby's discovery of her passion for painting also helped her realize she may have other untapped gifts. "If this was hidden within me, what else could I have missed?"
- Are you willing to give yourself permission to "rip up your work"? In other words, can you experiment without demanding perfection from yourself?
- What talents or gifts might you have overlooked or missed?
- What have you always fantasized about trying, but for whatever reason, you haven't had the chance?
Deby didn't know she had a talent for creation and a need for self expression. On a scale of one-to-ten, how ready are you to discover or recover your best features and enduring qualities?
Remember to experiment with Life -- the world is still a playground.
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My prayer is that you will remember this -- Being true to the person you were created to be in the greatest gift your can ever give to yourself, your family, society, and I believe, to God.