A very melodramatic cloud decided to have meltdown over Chicago just as I was about to step out of a restaurant. I had eight minutes to get to my car or my parking fee would go from $12 to $50. That’s half a pair of shoes wasted if I didn’t make it on time, so I had to think of something fast. Something that didn’t involve ruining my brand new purple stilettos in the flash flood accumulating just inches from my toes.
One of the 4-inch-sandal-stilletoed ladies also standing at the exit advised “Just wait it out. It’ll pass in ten minutes.” But I didn’t have ten minutes. I barely had eight. “Ladies, good luck,” I said, as I pulled off my pretty shoes and secured them in my yellow leather bag, which I didn’t want to ruin either so I wrapped that in my sweater, which, in turn, had nothing else left to protect it from the elements. I turned to my commiserators and announced, “I’m pulling a Mentos moment.” And with that, I bolted barefoot out the door.
Five city blocks, three minutes, and one dry pair of purple shoes later, I arrived at the parking lot. I felt like at least ten buckets of water had flushed through my hair and clothes, but I made it. Hell – I was even early!
As I inserted my ticket into the parking machine, I felt unusually optimistic – accomplished even. Sure, it’s perhaps not the biggest victory to get to the car on time when I really should have left ten minutes earlier and avoided the whole drama, but it felt good. I could have just waited it out and paid $38 extra. But I ask you – How many times do you find yourself wanting to do something just to think of a dozen excuses why you shouldn’t or can’t do it? How often do you take the easy way out and pay the extra $38? I know I’ve done it before. More times than I care to admit.
When you have those thoughts, why not pull a Mentos moment and just do it? Why is it that as children, taking off your shoes and running in the rain would seem as the more obvious option (rather than waiting), but as adults it’s the crazy exception? How many things do we miss out on in the opportunities life throws at us because we don’t want to get a little embarrassed, or a little soaked?
My small victory that night, turns out, was one such opportunity. It was an opportunity in the form of a self-realization. What I learned about myself through that experience was that I can do it. Whatever “it” is. It took a silly Mentos moment to realize it but here it is. With a clear goal in mind and a good reason for it, I can be unstoppable. Correction – I WILL be unstoppable. And so can you.
Sometimes you just gotta get soaked to get where you need to get to. There might be people who think you’re a little crazy for doing what you did (like those ladies standing at the restaurant door with me, who are probably still waiting for that bloody cloud to stop crying). You may step on a few sharp pebbles while running, which would make the whole thing seem like a bad idea and make you give up. The menacing whips of lighting in the sky above may try to scare you back indoors. But stay focused and you will get there. Maybe even with time to spare.