I’ve only been water skiing once in my life. I was 12 years old. A friend of mine invited me to go out on a boat with her family one Saturday. I was so excited.
Finally, late in the afternoon the adults decided that I could try the water skiing. I lowered myself into the lake, handed my glasses to my friend (which rendered me practically blind), then put my feet into the too big pair of skis. My friend’s dad gave me a short lesson on how to position myself to get up on the skis and what to expect when the rope tightens. Then engine revved and the boat began to pull away. My world became very fast.
Now I was an athletic kid growing up and the whole water skiing thing looked pretty easy. So I positioned my skis and braced myself for the tug of the rope. I fought my way up onto the skis only to fall forward flat on my face. The part of the lesson that my friend’s dad left out was what to do when you fall. Panicked, I tightened my grip on the rope. Speed-snorkeling along the surface of the water, I lifted up my head and could see a blurry figure frantically waving their arms in the air and yelling, “Let go! Let go of the rope!” It took my mind several seconds to process this message, then I let go and in an instant life went from chaos to calm.
Have you ever experienced a moment like this? A moment where life is chaotic and then instantly becomes calm? Many times this transition from chaotic to calm is the result of making a hard decision. The inner turmoil that comes with being dragged through a bad relationship, or the constant rub of an unsatisfying work situation, can feel like being dragged along the surface of a lake face down. The process of getting on the other side of a decision typically requires us to let go of the current state in order to move toward a healthier existence. For me, I usually splash around in the pool (or lake, in this case) for a long time before the decision becomes clear. But once the decision is made, my focus becomes sharp and my life converts to a composed state. Sometimes the transition from chaos to calm is instantaneous like my water skiing experience. Other times the calm arrives more slowly. Most of us are not very patient with splashing around in the decision pool. We keep wondering when will all this end?
I am not the best with patience when it comes to making hard decisions. However, I’ve learned to accept the splashing around as part of my process of knowing that an answer or solution will eventually appear. It’s usually not on my timetable, but if I can step back and make my vision a bit blurry, I begin to notice the signs around me that are screaming at me to let go.
And then I am up on my skis taming the rough waters.
WHO WE ARE
We are organizational development practitioners and training professionals with deep experience in both the corporate world and in the public sector. Lifelong learning is our passion.
We have experienced many transitions of our own, some intended and some not, and have found that each ending has always yielded a better beginning. This is one of them.