WOW Word-Of-the-Week #70: Tiptoe

May 12, 2009 by  

Tiptoe – to walk softly and proceed with caution.

Are you tiptoeing through life? Do you ever feel like you are walking on eggshells? Do you worry about the future?

I believe we tiptoe when we are feeling fearful and/or we want to play it safe.

I found this quote from a seminar I attended more than ten years ago. It reads, “I refuse to tiptoe through my life, only to arrive safely at my grave.”

I think of “living life with gusto” as being the opposite of “tiptoeing through life.” Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t times we should play it safe. And I’m not saying that you should go through life with gusto all the time. All I want you to do, is reflect on your life.

Are you staying in your job because it’s safe? Are you feeling stuck in your marriage and afraid to leave? Do you worry about things that you have no control over?

“Life is short.” is a quote I hear a lot. And it applies to all of us. We never know how long we have on this earth.

This week take a look at your personal and professional life. Are you tiptoeing? Are you walking on eggshells? Maybe it’s time to make a change. Maybe it’s time to go for the gusto!

Reader Responses

“Ms Clarke, Thank you so much for your continued WOW. I use them to help stimulate my staff during our weekly meetings. Sometimes they prove to be more motivation then the weekly topic I offer.” — Paul Headley

“Some days if feel like I am a bull raging through life. I enjoy your words.” — Ken Webster

“We see so many people in our country living in fear right now. What if another terrorist strike hits us? What if the bird flu hits America? What if somebody tries to detonate a dirty bomb? Too many people have bought into fear. Unfortunately, our government has exploited people’s fears to grab more and more power. As a result, we are giving up our liberties for the fear of the unknown. People are afraid of what MIGHT happen tomorrow. Nobody knows, so that best that we can do is take advantage of the great opportunities life has for us TODAY! Take the bull by the horns. Carpe Deum – Seize the day! There are so many out there who have simply tiptoed through their lives because it was the safe thing to do. No risk. Well, if there is no risk there is no reward. Just because something has not been done before does not mean that it can’t be done. Go for it! We will never know until we try. We live in the Chicago area, and there was a planner for the City of Chicago in its early days whose motto was: “Make no small plans.” His name was Daniel Burnham. Some of the above sounds somewhat clicheish, but it is true. We have only one life, let’s make the best of it. Susan, there are too many people who reach a certain age in their lives with regrets. I have always been impressed by those who have lived long lives, but had the attitude of making the most of every day, while treating people fairly and with love. At 100 or 105 or even 110, they are HAPPY people. They are loved and beloved. The difference: THEY LIVED THEIR LIVES EVERY DAY. That is what it is all about. None of us knows what tomorrow brings, so let’s charge ahead instead of tiptoeing. We want people to know we were here. Let’s leave that permanent footprint in the sand that can’t be washed away by time.” — Joe Moran

“I talk to people about this topic from time-to-time. I ask them the same question, I only ask it, “Are you really doing what you want to do in life?” and “I ask them, are you living a life full of purpose?” In particular, when I interview people, I ask them, if you could have any job in the world, what would it be? I like to get into their minds. Their reply will tell me a lot of who they are. I also challenge people to take a different route to work, instead of taking the same route, because it is comfortable. Why do we like to sit at the same seat in our favorite restaurant? Why do we like to sit in the same seat at the movie theatre? Why do we take the same route to work every day? I say, expand your mind, take a look at things from a different perspective. What happens to all of us, is we go to sleep on the job. If we don’t expand our minds, we become very comfortable because it is easier. They say that insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. I have seen people (like my sister) get in and out of marriages, because they suck, but each time she thinks they will be better. I ask her what is she doing “differently” in her relationships or what is she doing the “same” in her relationships? She gets a puzzled look on her face. I see many people doing the same in their jobs, etc., and it greatly disturbs me. I am not one to “tiptoe” through life. I say, stir up the pot, break something so you can see how it works. I don’t subscribe to the thought; “If isn’t broke, then don’t worry about it or don’t fix it.” I say that is a bunch of crap. I like to explore and take things a part and “break things” and stir up the pot a little, just to see how things will turn out. We, my family and I like to hike in the mountains of western North Carolina and we take different trails, just to explore. It is awesome! It is really great to take a trail we have never taken before just to see the different scenery, etc. We have often come upon some of the most amazing things in the mountains, just because we got off the beaten path. I recently purchased a new vehicle with a GPS, Navigational System. I am having fun with it. Most recently, I was going to Birmingham, Alabama for a CMAA Education Program. The interstate was backed up, so I put my navigational system on and headed down a country road. I felt pretty cool, especially as I looked in my rear view mirror and saw all of that traffic backed up for miles as I was heading down a country road all by myself. It was a beautiful fall day and I got to experience things I had never seen before. With my GPS system, I knew I wouldn’t get lost, so I didn’t have a care in the world. I passed by old farmhouses, farmers plowing their fields,I even saw a produce stand that said: “Honor System” – Take what you need and pay for what you think the produce is worth. I thought that was too cool. The neat things was that there wasn’t a farmer attending the produce stand. There was just a sign and produce. I also came upon a beautiful overlook, where I saw a lake that I didn’t know even existed in northern Alabama, along with beautiful mountains in the background. It was so beautiful. I would of never seen it, had I not taken this route. I say, make your “Own Trail” through life, and get off the beaten path of life. Perhaps our dilemma we get into our comfort zone extends from when we were children we were told that cows are not purple and we must not use that color to color them and that we must also stay within the lines when we color. We (adults) have stunted or hindered creativity in our children. I say break the habit, before the habit breaks you!” –Don Vance