Friday, November 19, 2010

Jumping In The Crib and Other Risky Business Practices

In everything around me I see a message, something little that translates into a life lesson.  Many times my most powerful messages are sent to me via little actions or interactions with my three-year old daughter or my twenty-year old daughter. (OK, go "Yikes!" now.  It's all good, believe me.)

Hence, here is the message for today, an enlightenment delivered through my littlest lamb--three year-old Lily.

It was a brilliant Saturday morning and as with all Saturdays, Lily and I stayed in our pajamas well into the mid-morning. We had already played tea party and dollies and cleaned up the kitchen, corralled the dogs, and finished the laundry.  So now it was time to get ourselves out of dishevelment. But first, the over-burdened laundry baskets needed to be emptied, their contents neatly tucked away in the appropriate drawers.

Lily ran ahead, hip-hop "quick" like a bunny, up the stairs and then charged down the hall into her room.  I lagged behind, huffing as I carried the last basket of clothes into her room. Looking back over my shoulder I noticed the trail of little socks, undies and jamies that marked the path of which I had just came...each item a slip-and-fall victim whom had toppled off the top of the mile-high pile of clothes folded in the basket.

I plopped the basket down in the middle of her confetti-colored shag area rug. "Ugh."

Lily's room is spacious, easily accommodating her "big girl" four-poster mahogany bed. It was the same bed my beautiful eldest daughter had had, the one I had slept in as a child, and my father, and his mother before him. I smiled when I thought of her sleeping there, the fourth generation of little beings, and big ones that had laid their heads down at night, only to gaze up and fall asleep gazing at the tall spindles intricately carved with pinecones and flowers.

Perhaps when she slept she absorbed a little bit of our energy, vibrations long-ago left behind and spiritually imprinted into the swirling grain and polished gloss of the varnished wood. Maybe at night, those energies seeped out and embraced her in a vapor of safety and love, the gentle arms of her ancestors. Maybe our dreams were being magically absorbed my this little being of mine while she slept.

Lily could care less about the bed. And being three, she is still also very much attached to her crib, which is on the opposite wall only a foot or so from the end of the four-poster masterpiece.  The crib is now only three-sided, as I had removed one side rail and converted it into a toddler bed right after she learned how to climb out of her crib and throw herself to the floor...nearly knocking herself unconscious on a few occasions.

Nevertheless...she's attached to the crib/toddler bed.  She can't let it go.  Some nights, especially when she's extremely cranky, she will choose this as her night-time nest instead of the big-girl bed.  But what she loves about it most, is that she can hold on to the end of the crib-bed and JUMP like a lunatic.

So it was on that Saturday morning, our conversation began:

"Mama. Mama." she said coming up to me and taking my hand.  "Come with me. I jump." She slipped her tiny hand in mind and began to pull me toward the crib.

"No, honey.  It's dangerous," I told her.

"It no dang-ross. I no fall," she continued calmly.

"You're going to fall and hurt yourself," I warned wearily.

"No. I be wheel ka-ful. Here, you see.  I hold on wheel tight," she continued confidently as she led me to the open side of her crib. She hopped up onto the little mattress and took her place at the end and wrapped her tiny fingers around the top bar.

"You stay," she continued and pointed to the spot on which I was standing. Why she thought, for a second, that I would leave her to jump on her own is beyond me. And I had absolutely NO intention of moving an inch, as now I was in perfect position to catch her if she went jump-flying out of the crib-bed and onto the hard wood floor!

"Be careful," I commanded reaching out to steady her.

"No! You no take me. You watch.  You stand white there. Watch," she ordered.

"OK, Lily.  We're going to do this for ONE minute then we're done. No more."

With that she began to jump. "Ha. Ha. Ha. Fas-ta, fas-ta..." she huffed as her little heart beat shot up and a wide grin of total delight spread across her face.  She was breathing hard now..."fas-ta, fas-ta...".  Her feet were shooting off the mattress to the height of nearly twelve inches.  Her face was getting red as the jumping speed continued to increase.  The little, blond pigtail on top of her head was jumping with her...up in the air, then down, whipping her gently across the face every time her feet hit the mattress.

Now she was laughing. "Look at me hair! That's funny. See my hair?"  She giggled as her hair continued to whip back and forth across her face. "You see? Watch. It no dang-ross. It funny! Fas-ta. Fas-ta."

Now I was worried.  She was jumping so high her bum was up nearly parallel to the mattress itself.  It was only a matter of time before her fingers let go and she went flying across the room and cracked her head open.  I lifted my arms out to my side to make sure I had all the open space covered, that there was no way she could fly by me without me being able to grab some part of her.

Then she let go and threw herself backward squealing with delight. I lurched forward to grab her, but she landed safely and squarely on the mattress. "Let's do it again!" She was jubilant.

Then it struck me.  She's exactly like me...she's a little entrepreneur, only she's in the business of jumping.  And she did a lot right for a three year-old entrepreneur.

First, she spent her time doing something she LOVED.  Not something that was, "OK". Not something that would feel good, but something that would make her feel great.  And she put every ounce of energy she had into jumping as high as she could.

As business owners and entrepreneurs, we also jump.  Every decision we make has an upside and a downside, but then we have to decide and act. Deciding to start a business and then actually doing it is probably the biggest jump we'll ever make.  And in doing so, there is always some associated risk.  But there is associated risk with any decision. The key is to knowing your limits and understanding  your tolerance for the level of risks you take. We need to stretch or limits, jump higher and higher all while knowing and believing that the risks we are taking now are intelligent, planned and always have a tremendous upside!

As an entrepreneur, we need to feel certain about how high we can jump and for how long without losing control and jump-flying out of "crib".  But, how awesome is it to jump! How exhilarating! How freeing! How energizing! And how blessed are we to have the opportunities to pursue our dreams and take those risks to be ultimately amazing.

Oh, and one last thing Lily did perfectly.  She got someone she trusted with her life to be her spotter, someone who would stand by her dreams, encourage her, caution her and ultimately spread their arms open wide to catch them if they flew too high, too fast.

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