Provision #810: Mix-ups Happen

Laser Provision

Last week I sent out Provision #809: Be Your True Self, but guess what? It may be hard to imagine (Ha!) but I made a mistake! I numbered it Provision #810 and, yes, an alert reader of Provisions pointed out the mix up. Well, that forms the basis of this week’s Provision: Mix-ups Happen. And the key to success in life is learning how to roll with and to recover from them. Don’t Worry, Be Happy is how Bobby McFerrin sings the song; I would encourage you to do the same.

LifeTrek Provision

On YouTube there are a lot of renditions of Bobby McFerrin’s now classic song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” – my search returned about 86,000 results with millions of viewings. That’s a lot of recordings and viewings! The song is short, sweet, rhythmic, and to the point. It apparently speaks to thousands if not millions of people and I know it speaks to me. The lyrics are really quite simple. The core message, sung repeatedly with numerous variations, is this:

Here’s a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry be happy

In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double
So don’t worry, be happy

Cause when you worry
Your face will frown
And that will bring everybody down
So don’t worry, be happy (now)

I’ve always enjoyed that song but I never thought it really applied to me. I mean, little problems? Sure. But big, lay-down-and-die problems? No way. Then all this craziness started with my brain and my perspective on problems changed substantially. Suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye, I had plenty of reason to worry. And I have done my share.

So that’s why I had to laugh when an alert reader of Provisions pointed out that I sent out last week’s edition with the wrong number. Yes, it’s fixed now on our website archive. And, yes, that’s the kind of thing that used to bother me as well. But compared to what I have gone through? What could be more inconsequential! Mix-ups happen and it’s better to roll with those blips and bleeps than to allow them to drive us crazy.

And that forms the basis of this week’s Provision. Mix-ups happen. Even when we are doing the best we can, problems can still rise up and catch us unawares. Problems are an inevitable part of life. The question is not whether or not we will have problems, the question is how will we respond to problems when they arise.

What I am learning to do through my recovery process is to not stress out about problems and to seize them as opportunities for learning, growth, and change. I used to think of those coaching dynamics as charting a successful course from Point A to Point B; I now think of them – as I wrote a few weeks ago – in terms of Trial & Adjustment. Learning and life are continuous improvement processes that I am learning to accept, embrace, and enjoy – even when they don’t work out quite the way I would like.

Take what just happened an hour ago at our local pool. My wife, Megan, and I had been talking all day about going for a swim. But every time we turned around, we found something else to do. Work in the yard. Make lunch. Take a nap. Transfer music files. Prepare for our upcoming trip to the Mayo Clinic. There was always something to distract us.

But finally, at 20 minutes to 5 in the evening, we headed out the door to the pool. We arrived at 4:45 PM, only to be told that there was a cocktail party this evening and that the pool would be closing at 5:00 PM. Mix-ups happen! We looked at each other to decide whether or not we would just turn around and go home or jump in the pool and swim. There was no discussion. On went the goggles and in we jumped, like seals jumping into the ocean from an iceberg.

We swam as fast as we could, with my wife (as usual ) swimming quite a bit faster than me. But each of us got in just about as many laps as we wanted to complete and I, for one, at least, would never have swum that fast if we had had all the time in the world. As I sit here and type this Provision my arms are still wonderfully weary from the effort. It’s great to exercise and push your body to the limit – as I used to do with running – without having a seizure or any other complication. Delightful.

I even managed to turn the whole experience at the pool into a game. Since we were the only ones left in the pool, I would swim a few laps in a lane on one side of Megan and then I swim under water to swim a few more laps in the lane on the other side of her. Back and forth I went, worrying Megan a bit but having a tremendous amount of fun with my little swimming adventure, until the lifeguard called us out of the pool.

So the key to mix-ups, then, is not whether or not they will happen. That is a given. There is no way to avoid them. The key, as I wrote in Provision #806, is to learn from them and to grow through them. When we take that stance, the coaching stance, then mix-ups become a wonderful opportunity to not only learn, change, and grow but also to have a little fun.

That’s what I enjoy about my wife’s perspective on my brain inflammation as well as about Bobby McFerrin’s song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. They put everything in perspective. Who cares that I messed up on the number of the last Provision! Who cares that people make mistakes! Who cares that everyone has trouble in life, at least on occasion! Those things happen. The key is to react to them with energy, grace, and love.

Then swim as fast as you can! ☺

Coaching Inquiries: What troubles have you faced lately? How have you responded to them? Have your responses made things better or worse? What would it take to let the heavy things go and to start having more fun? How could you put things in perspective without losing your ability to make a real contribution in life and work?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form to arrange a complimentary conversation.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob.


I’d like to share a celebration. Your last Provision, Be Your True Self, inspired me to watch Queen To Play. Wow! I am so thankful for your Provisions and the ability you have to inspire so many different people on so many different levels. I have another movie title to share with you: The Diving Bell and The Butterfly. I hope you find additional inspiration and insight if you get a chance to either see this movie or read the book.


I’m forever thankful for our paths crossing in Williamsburg. I’m thankful I have the disease that I have, sarcoidosis, because that caught your attention and made my journey close to your heart. You stepped out for me and I’m praying for you and think of you often.


You are in my heart prayers and meditations each and every day. It is said God knows what is in one’s heart. So, placing you in my heart, I trust the prayers are continuous, for God knows what is there. I am anxious to hear how your visit to Mayo goes. It is a great medical center in its own right and having one of the world’s best docs there, for your condition, is just grand. Please keep in touch as you will.


You and your Provisions are huge lights in my life. Thanks!


WOW! I must admit that I have already read your reply twice and will need to read it again! I can’t believe that you replied!!! I must admit that I have placed you on a pedestal! ☺ Thank you for making the time to answer my question so promptly. Your coaching wisdom is always so timely and clear. It is my intention to study now so that I may reach my vision of becoming a Health Coach by next year! Your Provisions are part of my intentional study that is paving the way for my vision! Thank you!


I’m sending you this picture of a Blue Heron because I love its self-determined ability and innate wisdom to maneuver through life, to co-create its own circumstances, and to evolve. These graceful birds follow the promptings of their own hearts and show passionate optimism that make them one of the most magnificent birds to watch when they soar. I love them because whenever I see one I think of you. Blessings.


Thank you for your last Provision, Be Your True Self! You have inspired me on so many levels. Can you answer one question: What is the difference between vision and intention? (Sounds like the focus of a future Provision! You have given me both a vision and an intention. They are different. Keep reading.)


Your last Provision is exactly what the sonnet I wrote for you was all about. Even in the ICU, you were fully your True Self. That’s the You that’s perfectly wonderful and eternal, beyond the reach of disease or disability, bearing the likeness of God. Thanks for being you.


What an amazing brain you have. Look at all the acrobatics it can do! From baffling seizures to crafting inspirational prose on deadline. I share your writings with many others because I believe they will be comforted in their own situations by your gentle sharing of experiences and learnings. Love always.


Your last Provision was outstanding. Keep ’em coming!


I just read Provision #808, Over the Rainbow. When I think of this song and its message, I am reminded of Pinocchio’s Pleasure Island and the tropical paradise in the book Hey Al. These thoughts don’t contradict the theme of your Provision or add to it. Your Provision made me think of the importance of balance in our life — challenges keep us humble and give us broader perspectives. An easy life narrows our thought and makes us jerks.

What you and Dorothy are asking for, I think, is a bit more balance in your challenges, balance between joy and frustration. You don’t want all your troubles to melt away, just those that prevent you from doing what you’d like. You are terrific. What is amazing to me is that your intelligence is so apparent even with the deficits you are experiencing. Your depth, warmth, and need to contribute are truly astonishing. Thanks for all the effort, all the perseverance, and all the kindness. You are still you, but if possible, more so.


I’m so glad you remember me! Now you can remember me singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, especially for you! As a matter of fact, I’ll do that right now before starting my day! Cheers! BTW – your last Provision was especially meaningful to me because one of my college-age, AD/HD/LD/EF coaching clients weighs 339 pounds and I was not familiar with the IZ story. When I sing the song for you this morning, I will sing it for him, too! Thanks.


I won’t hesitate to initiate giving you a big hug the next time I see you! You already had an incredible story to share prior to all this, but now it is simply a God given miracle! Which is what the author of Proof of Heaven claims in his recovery. Keep the faith, one foot in front of the other. You are loved!


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

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