Paul and I have been lucky enough to be working on a project for our speaking engagements. While we are excited about it, and it’s a lot of fun, it’s also been a lot of work. We’ve been putting together posters and flyers for several different speeches we have scheduled. About a week ago when we had that day with torrential rain and pretty gusty winds, Paul and I decided to use that time to get the lion’s share of the work done. We sent a lot of printing jobs over to Staples. Because the weather was so bad, the print department wasn’t busy and would finish each of the jobs quickly. The store is only 2 miles from our house, so we made numerous trips that day.
A couple of days later I went in to pick up yet another printing order. The woman behind the counter asked for my last name; as she was digging through her pile of completed orders, she suddenly looked up and said, “Marks?” That’s never a good sign. She looked at me for a couple of beats and continued with “It’s you.” I guess my expression let her know I didn’t understand, and then she explained to me that every time Paul went in that day when we had been so busy, he told her the reason we didn’t get it all done at once was because I had been making so many mistakes. The lady and I joked around for a little bit, and then I took my printing order and I left.
As fate would have it, I ended up back in Staples a couple of days later. When I realized the woman might just get the chance to judge me a little more, I started praying for all I was worth that she was not working. Of course she was.
I was standing over to the side, waiting for the employee to finish with the woman at the counter in front of me. The customer and I looked at each other and smiled for a second, and then she looked down at my tennis shoes and said, “I love your trainers.” She hesitated with the word trainers, and I wasn’t sure if she was going to say tennis shoes or sneakers. She was not British, so the use of the word trainers kind of threw me and it might have thrown her as well.
I started thinking about it. I really like that word. I think so often in daily life, with whatever we are doing, we are focused on getting it done right and being perfect, but I love the freedom and the flexibility that “training” offers. I have seen people who won’t try anything new because they feel like they have to reach perfection on their first attempt.
When we are in the beginning stages of something we’re not good at yet we tend to give ourselves a little grace. Maybe we haven’t quite reached perfection yet but we’re trying. We’re training for it. I think I will consider myself in training for not worrying as much, for being more mindful, for being a kinder person, and maybe for finding a way to get Paul back for telling people I’m making so many mistakes.