I started a new leukemia medicine about four months ago. As with each of the leukemia drugs, I turn out to be allergic to it. My entire body is covered in an itchy, bumpy rash. And new for me, this version has caused my hair to start falling out. It is dramatically thinner, so my hairdresser cut it shorter to minimize how that looks. Every time I look in the mirror, all I can see is the rash on my face and the thinness of my hair.
I was at a meeting for my marathon charity event (Www.teamintraining.org) the other day. I’d been having quite the pitty party lately about how this drug was affecting my looks. At the end of the meeting, one of my girlfriends came over and told me that I looked amazing and that my skin looked great. She hoped I was feeling as good as I looked. You could have knocked me over with a feather.
On my way home that day, I realized that I was guilty of not seeing the forest for the trees. I was so focused on something that most people don’t even notice, that I could not see that I really did look healthier on this new medicine. And, even worse, I wasn’t looking at myself with love like my friend was. I was looking with the expectation that something was wrong.
I then realized that this is what so many of my students do in class. It is what so many decorators do while working on our cakes. We judge ourselves harshly. We critique every single thing we do. We look at the sub parts of the cake or class project so closely that we totally miss the beauty of what we are creating.
I was teaching in Louisiana a couple weeks ago. One of the students was totally hating her lace work. I took the project from the table, told her to close her eyes, then stepped back a couple paces. When she opened her eyes, she exclaimed “oh!” She could finally see the beauty in what she was creating.
Often we need to look at our work with fresh eyes. I used to make myself do this in competition work, but I totally forgot to do this in classes and in my personal life. So my words of wisdom for you today are to look for the forest. Look at your projects with love. You might be pleasantly surprised!