January 2, 2019

Step Right Up Folks, and Welcome to the Dunking Booth!

Clipart courtesy of Worldartsme.com

My adult life has been pretty extraordinary. What looked on the surface as the typical middle-class childhood growing up in a Texas town was actually the catalyst for this now-extraordinary life. Of course I didn’t know it at the time. Most kids growing up with a childhood like mine assume they’ll have a similar adulthood, more or less. But life - as I have deemed it for myself and will for you as well - is like a dunking booth. Have you ever been to a county fair or fundraiser and seen those large clear dunking booths that some poor schmuck (or generous saint) has to sit in? Once benched, this person’s only job is to wait while others line up to gleefully throw balls at a target, ultimately sinking said person into cloudy water if the target is hit just right. The person sits....the person waits....the person falls....the person wipes their face and gets back on the bench for more. C’mon y’all, is this not the perfect metaphor for adulthood??

But what we sometimes fail to see is how we became dunking-booth victims. Some of you may still envision yourselves as only ball-throwers, playfully moving from game to game and never sitting still. But folks, once you volunteered to grow up you volunteered for the dunking booth. You got in and probably never realized the exact moment you were sitting there; it was just your “turn”. I began to realize I had climbed into my own dunking booth by college, but even then I had no clue how many balls would be thrown at me. How many balls CONTINUE to be thrown at me.

Now don’t get me wrong, maturity doesn’t lend itself to torturous acts by design; this idea of you and I in the dunking booth has so much to do with perception, action, and good ole’ gumption. Our own dunking booths may represent what we try to protect, what we’ve earned, or what we stand for. It may be our homes, our careers, or our passion. It could be protecting us from the outside elements OR making us more vulnerable as we sit and watch what will happen. Many of us sit perched in defense-mode, knowing the balls are gonna fly and at any given moment we may be struck down. But think about how you handle this strike-down.....do you view yourself the victim every time or chalk it up every time as just being part of the game? My guess is you may feel a little of both. Or, your perception may be different each time based on who’s actually throwing the balls at you (ex. "my boss had to yell at me, it's his job....it's OK" or "how DARE that stranger at the grocery store judge me by my 22 items in the 20-items lane! But why am I so upset about it?") 

What life in my dunking booth has taught me so far - and what I want to teach you through this blog - is 1) perception changes attitude, 2) action, even if unsure, is better than sitting still, and 3) gumption cannot only be acquired, but grow from within you and help you persevere. Gumption didn’t die out with the old black and white movies; it’s alive and well and living in this Texas gal. This gal that’s survived heartache, career changes, uncertain moves, and even cancer. This gal that encourages others to change their own behavior to affect the behaviors of others around them. This gal that continues to wipe the cloudy water off her face and sit in her dunking booth, smiling and nodding at other dunking booth folks surrounding her, like she has a secret on her lips. Guess what? She does. And her county fair is in full swing.

Anissa Moore is a public speaker, educational consultant, and Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She owns her own company, Anissa Moore Consulting, specializing in professional development opportunities for educators and other professionals. As a licensed behavior analyst, she's studied behavior patterns as they relate to organizations, work production, and employee attitudes. She is an 11-year advanced breast cancer survivor and currently juggles the health challenges of treatment "afterlife" along with her business and her family. She lives in Texas with her husband and their 11 year-old daughter, also known as the "little miracle". 

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