Strikes and spares. (Living my dreams) It's awesome when I roll a strike--meaning things turn out the way I planned. What a euphoric feeling and tremendous confidence booster. But there are times I roll the ball and it looks like I'm headed for a strike, and at the last minute the ball curves to the left or the right. What?! Desperate for a shift, I lean in the opposite direction of the ball (sometimes with the other foot lifted) and wave my hands in the direction of my lean, thinking that somehow the ball can detect my energy and miraculously turn in time for me to get the strike. (Those of you who bowl are familiar with this maneuver.) While things like this happen from time to time (i.e., just when I think I've lost out, something shifts in my favor), many times I have to be content with trying to pick up the spare--Plan B. If successful, at least I'll get something for my effort. Later on, with some distance, I find that Plan B was just fine.
Splits. (In the midst) There are other times in my life when it looks like I'm about to throw a strike, and lo and behold it's a split--right down the middle. In those cases, I have to decide whether it's worth trying to throw a curve ball to pick up the spare (outside my comfort zone), or just concentrate on getting whatever I can. It's a difficult decision, and sometimes I don't know what to do. But whatever decision I make I've got to be willing to live with it. So I reach into my arsenal of experience and step outside my comfort zone knowing it's a growth opportunity. And even if I get nothing in addition, I'll be grateful for what I have.
Gutter balls. (Baggage) Finally, there are those dreadful times in my life when I throw gutter balls--sometimes in succession. I don't mean to, but some things just don't work out at all. I go in to each situation believing (at a minimum, hoping) I'm going to roll a strike--especially when I know I'm giving it my best. But sometimes there are lessons I need to learn, which may only be presented through the gutter balls. And after throwing gutter balls, I may be so disappointed, frustrated, or devastated that I fall on my knees--especially depending upon what is at stake. In those instances, I have to examine and address the issues that caused the problem to avoid the same result in the future.
Lesson learned. Don't get too comfortable with the wins, or discouraged after the losses. Whether I throw a strike, spare, split, or gutter ball, it's important to remember that until the game is over there's always another frame.