‘One small crack doesn’t mean you’re broken. It means you were put to the test and you didn’t fall apart.’ Anon.
Which way do you tend to see it when a crack appears? Do you see it as the beginning of the end or do you see it as an area for learning and/or fixing?
If we follow the analogy of a crack in a wall, it could go either way. A crack can of course mean a problem with the foundation or even the structure itself. If so, then it’s time to examine the cause and put it right.
Alternatively a crack in the wall can simply mean that the building has now settled and is now firmly established.
What sorts of cracks have you ever observed in yourself?
Perhaps you broke down when you heard some bad news. Perhaps you showed a side of yourself that you don’t normally show, such as anger, irritability or vulnerability. Or perhaps you didn’t perform as well as you normally do, whether in the workplace, in sport or at some other activity.
In all of these situations it’s not so much the crack itself that’s important but how you deal with it.
Maybe the first question to ask yourself is whether you’re expecting a level of perfection in yourself that simply isn’t realistic. Aiming for perfection all the time can be a cause of stress. It’s when you’re under stress that more cracks are likely to appear.
Just as with the wall, or any other physical crack, investigate it and identify the cause. What were the circumstances that led up to it and contributed to it? Were there any extenuating circumstances? How likely is a similar situation to occur again?
Is there anything to be put right, such as making an apology or correcting a piece of work? Does it mean that things need to be handled differently from now on?
What support might you need going forward? Could this whole event be an opportunity for growth? Use any of these questions to help you decide how you will deal with the crack.
Does it need to be patched or repaired or are you perfectly strong and secure as you are?
Once you have carried out your exploration and taken any action needed, then you can honestly say that you have indeed been tested. Not only did you not fall apart but you are all the stronger for it.
Even if the crack means something is beyond repair and no longer fit for purpose, such as a physical injury, a business process that no longer brings results or a broken relationship, how can you build on from that? Perhaps it’s time to start developing a whole new skill, process or relationship. In time, that can grow to be just as strong, or even stronger, than the original, as it will benefit from the learning that came from those cracks.
Cracks definitely don’t have to mean that you’re falling apart.
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