Can you lick your own armpit?

May 1, 2010

in Life Lessons

Last week I participated in an arts and crafts event to sell my photography. As the date neared, I began to feel overwhelmed. This was only the second time selling my photography and the event was on a much larger scale. Items to display my work needed to be purchased and I had to think through the set-up. Of my work, what would be commercially successful? How many frames should I invest in and which size would sell the best? On top of everything that needed to be worked out for inventory and display, I also needed to edit images from photo shoots over the last few months. Finally, I needed to submit images for printing and then frame.

I was simply filled with worry and doubt. Would I even make what I invested to participate in the show and in inventory? Was my pricing reasonable? What if this was a total disaster?

Then, in a moment, I was able to re-set my thinking when I was asked an odd question on the eve of my event. My 6 year-old son, as my sage advisor, asked:

“Mom, can you lick your own armpit?”

Kids certainly have their moments when they are worried or doubt themselves. But they are much more free to try something and not be concerned about the consequences or possible failure. There is not a box in which children place their thoughts and this allows children to be free to think and experience life without as many limitations.That might mean more trips to the emergency room for some parents, but there is something to be learned from a child without much concern for failure. Children don’t have a frame of reference to go to such places of self-doubt and negative thinking and that is such a gift. The negative thinking is a talent we adults cultivate over time.

Who thinks of licking their own armpit?

Certainly not me, but maybe the next time I am riddled with worry about potential failure when I am taking a chance, I can think back to this moment and remember to be more positive. Here’s what I plan to do the next time I am faced with an opportunity to succeed (and am worrying that I will fail):

  • Confidently move forward with a plan.
  • Believe that if  success isn’t attainable at that moment, then I am a little closer to success from my efforts.
  • Failure will happen only if I don’t take the risk.

Can you lick your own armpit?

You never know what is possible until you try.


xylia hall May 2, 2010 at 10:06 pm

My friend Rocky used to tell me during the painful end of a cherished relationship, “There are no Rewards without Risk”. Life goes on – whether we chose to show up or not. And the latest & greatest I heard from a tv show ” No hay mal por donde bien no venga”. There is no bad from which good will not come.

dental hygienist June 17, 2010 at 4:53 am

Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

Marie June 18, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Now THIS is what I call a gripping title. I couldn’t resist the urge to come and read!

And congratulations, your photos are fantastic. As is your blog :)

Marie recently posted..Reason #26 – My child’s hunger cries make me laughMy Profile

Robin G July 9, 2010 at 2:56 am

What a great kid! Yes, my children have saved me from myself too many times to count.

I would imagine most of us have struggled with fear of failure. It’s sad how often that keeps me from trying.

Next time, I’ll consider licking my armpit. No, wait. That’s not right. Next time I’ll remember that the failure itself moves me closer to my ultimate goal because I learned from it. And just because it didn’t work this time it doesn’t mean it won’t work next time.

Thanks for this.

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