Swing and a miss

Swing and a miss.
The hatchet sliced through the air, leaving the piece of wood entirely unharmed.
This happened after I struggled in demonstrating the kindling splitter.
Struggled to use a knife to demonstrate batoning wood for kindling.
Sprayed myself in the face with a hose.
And had to have my 7 year old greet campers and explain the rules as I ran down the road to find my dogs who decided that drop off time was a good time to make a run for it.
There are some days when it seems like you can’t even fart right.
When things that you have done countless times, that you do without thinking, just don’t work out.
This happened to me 9 years ago during a cheese making class. I couldn’t get my mozzarella to work. I had 40 people watching me look like an incompetent fool. And I didn’t have the Stoic philosophy background that I have now to know how to deal with it. I was overcome with shame.
Today, as I appeared to be incredibly incompetent to the tweens and teens watching me, I didn’t feel any shame or like a fool.
Instead I smiled, I laughed and I saw the opportunity.
I set the hatchet down.
“Who here has had a day where things that normally are easy, just don’t work? Maybe it’s making baskets, hitting a baseball, doing math problems…”
Everyone raised a hand.
“I’m having one of those days guys, and I can choose to feel shame,I can tell myself a lot of stories about what you’re thinking of me, OR I can just find the humor in this very human experience. I can share it with you. And the next time you see someone having one of these days- let them know that they aren’t alone.”
I then picked up my splitting maul (axe), and told them that while my ego wanted me to skip this demo to avoid failure, it was because of my past failures that I had the confidence to risk failing yet again, to keep moving forward.
The sweet sound of wood splitting under the weight of the blow was greeted with kind support from the campers.
The next time you belly flop in front of others, own it, use it as an opportunity for connection, to demonstrate confidence and leadership. Don’t let being human be a cause for shame, but instead, fuel for compassion.

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About Becky

Becky Schmooke (pronounced “Smoke”) is a Mindful Leadership Consultant and Speaker, focused on providing action based mindfulness and leadership training to organizations and businesses who are ready to do things differently.

Becky’s Mindful Kitchen, is located outside of Iowa City, and provides truly unique team building and leadership retreats,  strategic planning workshops, private parties and classes and weekly summer camps for kids. The commercial teaching kitchen, treehouse, archery range, bush craft skills, first aid training, wood fired pizza oven, chickens, baby goats and timber adventure playground provides endless opportunities for hands on activities.


As a mom to three girls, 60 chickens, 4 goats, 2 dogs and a fire fighter’s wife- life is never boring and provides Becky with endless stories which she uses to illustrate her approach to mindfulness in daily posts on social media.  

In all that she does, Becky has one goal, to build confidence in others to take action to live their best life, not just pass time.  

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