A Breakthrough Requires A Breakdown

It was early morning, a few hours before dawn. The moon and I were rising together; she from the horizon, over the trees and I from my bed, through the silent house. It was beautiful, calm and peaceful. I was getting a head start on my day after a full night’s sleep.
Within 30 minutes, I realized something that completely knocked me down – I had totally forgotten about my teleclass the night before, when I turned my phone off early and went to right sleep after a day full of details.
All I could think of was how worried my class members must have been and how mortified I felt. Just for a second, all the air left my lungs. 
It took me a few moments to realize three things:
1. For over 20 years, I have taught the idea that mistakes are inevitable, a requirement for learning and a fundamental part of the human condition. And yet…I still prefer to make my “big” mistakes in private, or to make some little ones in public (like in a class, when I’m teaching this concept and my mistakes can be funny and make my point.) Even though I know what I know, I’m still learning to appreciate the value of my mistakes.
2. My teachers and mentors made big flamboyant mistakes in public so that the rest of us could watch and learn. They taught me that it’s not the breakdowns that matter; it’s the breakthroughs that result. The breakthroughs stay with you long after the memory of that particular mistake has faded. They didn’t seem to mind making mistakes–they seemed delighted.
3. Here was another opportunity to pass on what my teachers taught me. Here was the chance to use this breakdown as the breakthrough for an even deeper connection with this group of women, who I have come to admire in these last 7 weeks of weekly phone calls. Here was a chance to trust the process, our learning and their Powerful Presence.
Once these thoughts got past my feelings of being mortified, the rest was simple. Although it took me a few moments, the path was clear: jump in with both feet. Embrace your mistake with delight and celebrate the results.
In the midst of my mistake, the members of my class supported me and enjoyed each other’s company in my absence. 
Long after I forget making it, I will remember our breakthrough — to community.

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2 Responses to “A Breakthrough Requires A Breakdown”

  1. I so admire you for sharing this vulnerable moment as a teaching opportunity. Coaches too goof up now and then. We aren’t supposed to be perfect – but we are responsible to learn from our mix-ups. I adore people like you who show us all sides, just not the “pretty – shiney” public one. Authentic self is a best place to be, even when it’s not perfect.

    • Hi Betsy!
      Thanks so much for your tender message – and I’m right there with you. I appreciate you pointing out the teaching opportunity; you and I are completely in alignment, as we often are. Meanwhile, I finally learned enough about wordpress to answer you , and I didn’t want to let the moment pass…

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