After a stormy night at the river a few weeks ago, my 3-year old grandson (my camping buddy) and I surveyed the damage the next day. A tree was down, a few chairs and a bike were wrecked, but that was the extent. Storms don’t usually bother me, but being in a camper is much different than the safety of my house. Hayden was a trooper through it all though and proceeded to play while I attempted to clean things up. He had on the last pair of clean clothes and looked so cute….until we were ready to head home. His shorts were soaked and muddy and I sighed, asking him why he had to get so dirty. He just smiled and said, “I’ll dry.” He was right of course.
It was a good reminder that I need to let these little things go. And in the grand scheme of things, they are little. I reframed my thinking and realized he was still cute even with muddy shorts. The shorts would dry and the mud could be washed out, so really, what was the problem? There wasn’t one until I almost made it one. We were camping for crying out loud. No one expects a spotless kid at the campground. He was healthy and happy and unscathed from the storm. Instead of being grateful for that, I focused on something of no importance. It took his two little words, “I’ll dry,” to jar me back to reality.
Most of us have heard the saying, “Stop making mountains out of molehills.” Think about this. How often have we done this at work, consciously or unconsciously? How often has something irritated us that we can’t or won’t let go of? At what lengths do we sometimes go to prove a point – to prove that we were right about something? How often do we let irritations grow out of proportion until we’ve created a problem that didn’t exist? Or caused others to doubt themselves or their work? It’s not pretty is it? As HR practitioners, leaders, and as human beings, let’s continually reframe our thinking so that we build others up and truly let the small things go. Mistakes happen, but most mistakes are fixable if we focus on a solution rather than stay fixated and irritated by the mistake.
This past weekend at the river, I didn’t hover over the kids quite as much, I looked past the messes, didn’t care that the screen door was open more than not (mosquitoes weren’t too bad), tried not to show my irritation when some whining occurred, and truly enjoyed time with my grandkids rather than stew over the small stuff. Letting go is truly freeing.