Last week I was looking out the window of my home office when I noticed a little kid in a baseball helmet walking slowly down the sidewalk past my house. Since we live near the dead-end of an already pretty quiet street, I knew this was likely one of my new neighbors and paused to see what he was doing.
The boy gradually slowed down more and more until he stopped in front of our driveway and looked longingly at my house.
"He wants to ring the doorbell," I thought, and, having already found a handful of baseballs in our backyard, I was willing to bet he had knocked another one over the fence.
I continued to watch as the boy wavered for a few seconds near my driveway, started toward my house, then paused, stepped back, then paused again, and finally slugged off home.
In the moment when he finally turned around and walked off, my heart went out to the kid.
I KNEW first-hand how he felt.
He KNEW what he wanted. He STARTED to take action and use his voice to ASK for it. But ultimately, his THOUGHTS got in the way of his ACTIONS and he chickened out.
A little while later, I went into the backyard to learn that my guess was right. A worm baseball sat motionless in the grass.
The boy was long gone by then, so I threw it over the fence for him to find later.
Now, in this rare instance, I could very easily help the boy get what he wanted..
But most times in life, we don't have a perceptive neighbor or fairy godmother who can read our mind/body language and magically get us what we need.
And what if that thing is IMPORTANT, like sharing our opinion in a board meeting, connecting with our teenage kid, asking for a raise, or learning to stay present to truly LISTEN to what others are saying?
It's important to be able to take more control over our lives in critical moments. But to do that, we have SPEAK up (or sometimes be quiet and help OTHERS speak up), especially when we're uncomfortable.
In what area of your life are you acting RIGHT NOW like the little boy?
How are your thoughts getting in the way of your actions, your deep listening skills, and your powerful voice?
And what's one way you can change that today?
Ashley Orlando is a jazz vocalist/ukulele artist and coach who helps growth-focused leaders find their voice, grow their presence & amplify their impact.