I have no interest in balancing on a tightrope. The thought of heights gives me the willies. There is this feeling I get in the pit of my stomach as I look out over a ledge, a cliff, and even the balcony overlooking our family room. I never used to feel this way. I could climb bluffs, trees, and hike fearlessly. Somewhere along the line, I lost that ability.
I went to very few circuses in my life, but when I did, I was always amazed at the trapeze artists who operated with and sometimes without a net. They’d walk blindfolded, ride a bike, and sometimes walk backward. They’d hop or jump, seemingly without fear or concern. One brave soul would hang upside-down on a swing and catch their teammate or hurl them from one tiny platform to the other. When I watch gymnasts perform on the balance beam, I’m amazed at the flips, turns, and stunts they’re able to do. And again, they seem to perform fearlessly and courageously, until they dismount and breathe a sigh of relief.
I think at one time or another, each of us walks on a tightrope. Sometimes with a net, and sometimes without. Sometimes we’re way up in the air, while at other times, closer to the ground. But we walk on a tightrope nonetheless. That tightrope could be our hopes and fears for our children as they struggle making friends, studying their way through college, securing a good job and managing their debt. Sometimes that tightrope is our financial situation. Sometimes that tightrope is our relationship to our spouse, our significant other. Sometimes ourselves. That tightrope might be our job and position and the daily decisions we make. We decide to do what is right, fair and just or decide what is politically correct and safe, regardless of whether or not it is right or wrong, good or bad, morally just or not.
I believe those of us with titles are more often on the tightrope than not. Depending upon the situation and circumstance, there is a net . . . or not. There might be those who are supportive, and sometimes those who wait, and perhaps want us to fall.
In The Power of Progress, Teresa Amabile writes, “When people see that leaders can’t or won’t support their work, they view themselves like tightrope walkers working without a net. When leadership or other groups actively hinder their work, they feel like someone is shaking that tightrope.” Scary thought isn’t it? Scary or not, I see the truth in that statement.
If we realize that each of us is at one time or another on a tightrope, we can support each other, cheer each other on, and help catch one another when we fall. I think that might be a better way to live. Support, encouragement, friendship are sometimes in short supply. They don’t have to be. Really! We can choose to supply them to each other . . . and to ourselves. Really! Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!