Experiments

I believe very strongly in the idea of experimenting with my life. While trying new things can be scary at times, it can also be thrilling and lead to surprising discoveries. We’re faced with experiments all day long, like taking a different route to work or skipping your mid morning coffee in favor of a glass of water. There are also bigger experiments that we wrestle with, like shifting careers or returning to school to pursue an advanced degree.

No matter the size, all experiments are opportunities to grow, learn and make new discoveries.

“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

One tiny experiment that I did a long time ago was to try green olives. I grew up believing that I didn’t like green olives even though I had never tried them, most likely because my mom didn’t like green olives. And then a few years ago I finally tried them. And guess what? Yep, I LOVE them. Makes me sad to think I had a trip to Spain when I was 20 and missed out on a lot of delicious olive eating because I was holding onto an unconfirmed belief.

“[W]hen we live life as an experiment, we are far more willing to take risks, to acknowledge failure, to learn and develop. That’s what experiments are all about: discovery and growth. There is no real failure in an experiment because it’s all data. If something doesn’t work, that’s simply data that leads to changing behavior to see if something else does work.” Peter BregmanHarvard Business Review

Through experimenting I open up infinite doors of possibility.

Experimenting is guaranteed to result in learning. That learning may come from a total fail, like when I tried to get all our laundry done in one day. The result: a laundry basket pile up with clean clothes sitting for days begging to be folded and put away. Now I know that I shouldn’t wash more laundry than I can also put away. One or two loads per day works way better for me.

My Big Experiment Win

My most successful experiment to date was my meal planning experiment. For years I suffered through the chaos of 4:00pm with my children. Everyone was starting to get hungry and a little cranky from a long day, and I would suddenly remember “Crap! I have no idea what I’m going to make for dinner!”

There was food in the house, because I was buying grocery carts filled with various items every week. But, they didn’t necessary fit together as dinners, and definitely not quick, last minute meals. Not to mention, clear thinking and meal planning doesn’t go well when tired and hungry, with children underfoot feeling the same way.

I had heard about meal planning but couldn’t wrap my mind around actually doing it. How could I know on Sunday what I wanted to eat for dinner on Thursday?

Finally, fed up with the stressful afternoons and evenings, and too many unhealthy meals and expensive trips to restaurants, I decided to try meal planning.

I looked at meal planning as an experiment. I would try it, see how much I loved or hated it. Either way I would give my meal planning experiment a couple weeks.

That was a year ago, and I’m still happily planning our dinners out a week in advance. My meal planning experiment worked, with incredible success.

There are still some days when you might hear me yell “Crap!” around 4pm because I forgot to look at my plan and was supposed to put veggies and lentils in the slow cooker that morning. But, for the most part you will find me playing with my kids in the late afternoon, and us eating great dinners most evenings. There’s also the added bonus of smaller grocery bills and less wasted food.

But even more than that I eliminated a little stress from my life. I traded a frazzled time in my day for a time that I can really Be with my children — to play, connect and love. In addition I have more energy in the evenings, more energy during our bedtime routine, and more energy after they are asleep to work, create, and connect with my husband.

All from one little experiment trying meal planning.

A successful experiment indeed!

Interested in Trying Some Experiments?

If you haven’t already, sign up on my email list, right up there at the top of my side-bar, and receive my FREE e-Program Lessons in Experimenting. Start experimenting and see what opens up for you.

Have an idea for a fun experiment?

I’d love to hear about it. Email me and I can share it here on Perched to Fly.