Gripping the skipping rope in my hands for the first time in five decades, I quietly wondered if it was possible. Under the gaze of four sapphire-eyed girls I knew I had to try.
Two hundred and sixteen skips later I rested to the chorus of, “How did you do that?”
How indeed? What makes us rise to the occasion, whether to skip or dare to try something when we are daunted and unsure?
Asking if I could skip is a question of complexity. It assumes that because of age, I cannot skip rope. The fact that you don’t see a lot of grandmas skipping or skipping rope for fun confirms this assumption.
But age is not mobility or cognitive ability or desire — it is just a simple count.
The stereotypical view that people are old or that our age somehow limits our capabilities to contribute or engage was challenged here. Looking at the general demographic, the probability was that I could not skip rope — or at least not for very long.
- More with Brenda Schoepp: Innovation with the most unlikely material shows all is possible
Probabilities are important factors, particularly in business. Managing risk is the appreciation of the probability in a market. What the market is doing or has done is not the deciding factor. In our own lives, we respect what has happened and leave it there, and then focus on the now to ensure we create some of the probable.
And why was I asked to skip rope? The girls had already observed that the grandma they knew played, sang songs, held dance parties, was boisterous, and skipped in her walk. By living my life fully, the probability of me trying was higher. As a person who encourages them at all times that they can do anything, they would have been rather shocked if I said, ‘Grandmas don’t skip rope.’ It would have been a wee bit foreign for them because even though I am ‘old,’ there is still an expectation that I play (and play hard).
I have found references to skipping in some of my readings, and it is tied to joy and emotional freedom. Children who skip when they walk are expressing joy. We often hold hands as a family and skip while singing children’s songs. We are expressing our joy. Joy and skipping are also interchangeable. Skipping induces happiness and as we lift our feet, it ignites a freedom within us. Even a tiny effort to lift the foot in physical actuality or in our minds takes us to another place.
This is not a girl’s game. I have watched with wonder as my son skips down the street with his three children as he takes them to school. It elevates the whole family to a higher plane of well-being and makes the journey to school worth it. Boys and girls are free when they skip. And although skipping rope is a little more structured, it is just as energizing.
So what’s the point of this story?
It is simply this: To encourage you to put a little skip in your step.
If you are down this day, put a little skip in your step and allow the energy to fill you. If you are physically unable to skip, go to that place in your thoughts when you skipped and move your arms in those motions (you may feel like a conductor of a great orchestra).
If you are mobile, practise increasing the probability of skipping by getting your body ready for it. Stand on one foot for 20 seconds on each side to create balance. Get stretching. Walk more and walk a little longer every day. If you cannot walk, start with what you can move and get those body parts in shape. Buy a skipping rope and let its presence dare you!
Incorporate skipping into your life. While working in the fields take time to stop the tractor, pause and then walk to the end of the row. Feel and smell the earth that brings you your livelihood. Skip on back in appreciation for this partnership you have.
Rushing to get kids to baseball? Skip a little with them before the game. They will be in a better place physically and mentally. Teenagers think you are weird? Challenge them to skipping contests using creative ideas and steps. That way they don’t have to be ‘seen’ with you skipping down the street.
Love calving and getting pastures going? Skip across the field (or as long as your boots will take you) and let the joy of the season fill your tank.
Even I was surprised at my 216 skips, but it created such energy within me and around me that after supper we held hands and skipped down the lane singing and laughing as a family. All things are possible, but our attitude and willingness to nurture them makes them probable. A great life lesson for living and business is found in simply putting a skip into your step.