A friend on vacation sent me a “Mom Moment” video.
In it, she and her young sons were jumping competing cannonballs into the pool to see who could generate the biggest splash.
Hers was an impressive splash. She kicked the pants (or bathing suits) off of her sons’ attempts.
Which, of course, was the goal.
The video came with a lengthy list of everything she didn’t like about it and a warning NOT TO SHARE IT WITH ANYONE.
She used the video and her victory as an indication that the size of her splash meant it was time to go back on that diet, the one we occasionally trade notes about when we’re not meeting up for cheeseburgers.
(Note – we were introduced years ago as part of a corporate mentor program. We’d meet once a month to review goals and challenges. Soon we settled into a routine of holding those meetings over a lunch of cheeseburgers and fries. At the end of the program when the organizers asked participants what we had gained, we replied, “About ten pounds!” She is, in my ways, my soul sister… and, yes, we still eat cheeseburgers together with regularity…)
Back to the video… What She Saw vs. What I Saw:
She bemoaned how she looked in her bathing suit (beautiful), the look on her face as she leaped (an exhilarated smile), and the displacement of water over the pool edge (contest winner!)
I’ve written about her before because she’s one of those women who is So Good at Everything and yet So Hard on Herself. If she’s not earning an A+, she’s giving herself an F.
She’s a tough grader. Perhaps you can relate? Read: Are You a Straight A or a Total F?
She even apologized for the poor quality of the slo-mo video.
Anyway, her video – which of course I promised I would not share here because that would be an Awful Friend kind of thing to do – got me thinking…
Why do we go through life trying to not make any waves when we are capable of making a big splash?
What would you rather do… barely make a ripple or create a Tsunami of Impact?
Are you afraid of being noticed? And being noticed Exactly As You Are?
Maybe you’re not even getting in the “water” at all. Maybe you feel like a tadpole, barely treading water, in a pool full of sharks – Are You Swimming with Sharks?
Or you simply refuse to put on that bathing suit, whatever suit you need to wear. You go around Wearing a Mask that doesn’t feel real.
You know, in case people judge you. As harshly as you judge yourself.
Who would judge you as harshly as you judge yourself?
Why are we insisting on standards of perfection that are impossible to uphold?
Here’s my takeaway from her Mom Moment video:
Don’t just dip in a toe to test the waters.
Stop worrying about your size. Stop trying to make yourself small.
Use everything you have in this time that you’ve been given to make the Biggest Splash you can.
Take a giant leap off the diving board, run straight in from the sand without stopping.
Yell “Cannonball!” while you do it. Or… “Incoming!” Or… “Look Out!”
Let them know they’d better get out of your way.
While you’re at it, get out of your own way.
Jump in with all your Might and Power.
Displace the water with your presence.
Announce your arrival.
Slosh the water over the side.
Do it with an exhilarated smile.
Look at all you are capable of!
Make a Splash. And while you’re at it, make it a Big One.
Valerie Gordon is a 10x Emmy-winning television producer, an author and humorist, and the founder of The Storytelling Strategist. She helps clients and audiences discover and capitalize on the power of their stories for greater success at work and satisfaction in life. Email her at email@example.com.