Some time ago I was a participant at an interesting workshop. Almost at the end, we were asked to role up our sleeves. We were curious what the exercise will be about, when we heard: “Each of you will have to get a key that is hidden in a pit of snakes, you cannot see it.” You can imagine what was the response of more than 200 people in that room: fear, excitement, curiosity, …
The first thought that came to my mind: “Are they poisonous?”. I didn’t feel scared, like the lady beside me. Just noticing that, I was wondering what I would I get from this experience.
We split in a few groups, waiting in line to get our turn. And here I am, looking at the pit of snakes. They didn’t move too much. I found a place between the snakes, and gently direct my hand toward that place. The snakes were sitting on sawdust, so to find your key you had to move around your hand under the sawdust. I found one, grabbed it happily.. and dropped it on the way out! I looked again at the snakes; they moved gently like they didn’t care. I calmed myself down again, wait few seconds, and grabbed the key again… this time for good! “YEEEEYYY!!!!!”
I came back to my chair, wondering: What was that? Why I wasn’t able to hold the key? I realized that this is a pattern that showed up in my life several times: I had no problem focusing on achieving something, I put all my energy into getting it, and soon after I achieve it.. I drop it (doesn’t interest me anymore), or I don’t have energy to continue!
I wrote in my journal: “What do I have to do to brake this pattern?”. I look around, and talk with other people about their experience. A friend told me she was so scared, that she didn’t want to do the exercise, she cried. Noticing that other people did it, she got the courage to try herself. Still crying, she was able to get her key. She was happy after, she even get back and touched the snakes, to see if she’s still afraid of them.. she wasn’t anymore!
The answer to my question hit me two days after, when I was driving on the highway! 😉 I realized that I had that pattern because I’m going from one extreme to another: I focus too much on what I want to achieve, neglecting other important things in my life (exercising, relaxing, enough sleep, connecting with people, etc.). No wonder why, after I achieved what I want, my physical body reached its limits asking for help. That’s why I couldn’t continue in the same rhythm after or I lost the interest. I finally understood what was missing! Life is not meant to go from an extreme to another, a little moderation and more self-care are required – no matter what I want to achieve, or how passionate I am about achieving it! I might not even get there if I would continue that way! That was a good lesson for me.
Gabriela Casineanu, M.Eng, MBA, ACC, ORSC