Glass Balls

Glass Balls

Over the years we hear things and gather gems of wisdom that can alter the rest of our lives.  I remember more than a decade ago when I attended a workshop that changed me forever.

David Irvine, an inspirational leader with over thirty-five years of experience as a family therapist, workshop facilitator, lecturer, and adviser to executives, was tasked with instructing health care professionals in Alberta on strategies that could be applied personally and in their careers.   He explained that we have different choices in life that can be compared to baseball-sized balls.

When we have a rubber ball at hand, we can choose to throw it knowing that it will likely bounce back towards us.  That means that we have an opportunity to deal with it repeatedly without negative consequences

On the other hand, glass balls, when thrown, shatter and are destroyed.

David shared a powerful personal story about a time when his wife was expecting their child and he was to be a speaker in another province.  She was worried that he would not be able to be with her for the birth should the child decide to arrive early.  He assured her that he would carry a beeper and be able to return in time if she needed him.

David travelled to the workshop location, spoke all day and then was invited out for dinner.  He enjoyed the experience but was horrified when he entered the hotel room and noticed that the light on the phone was flashing.  Within minutes he realized that his wife was in strong labour, and he wouldn’t be able to be with her for the birth.  Apparently, the battery in his beeper had died but he hadn’t noticed.

David had taken a chance.  He had trusted the beeper only to realize that this situation was one of the glass balls of life that he had dropped and that he would never be able to recapture or recover from the loss.

All of us are inundated with demands of life.  People want our time and energy often to the point that we can become overwhelmed.  It is easy to get wrapped up in things that threaten our opportunities to preserve and treasure the glass balls of life.

David explained to us that we each only have five or fewer glass balls and, when they are shattered, they are gone.

Take a piece of paper and pen right now.  Write down the five glass balls that you value.  What are you doing to protect them?  What are the things that are interfering with this? What new commitments are you willing to make?

Remember, you have a limited number of treasures that are glass – fragile but valuable parts of life that cannot be restored once they are broken.  Everything else is made of rubber.

Thanks, David, for sharing this precious story so that I can now hare it with others.

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