Sometimes, the hills we climb are slippery and efforts to stay upright are successful. Sometimes, those efforts fail. I should just be dubbed "Grace" these days, perhaps then I might develop some - grace, that is. I was hitting the trail this morning and attacking the better part of five miles at a good clip. With my headset in place, iPhone/iPod in hand, and a groove in my stride, the world could not have been better.

Approaching a small hill, I spied a lovely wall of the most glorious morning glories ever. Their color was a brilliant, bluish-purple and I was drawn to them like a crazy mosquito to the thigh of a Tabasco lover. I should have realized that my previous encounters with slippery puddles and cobble stone walkways foreshadowed of things to come. But the beauty of the flower beckoned me upward. And then down. Rather quickly. Yep. The hill I tried to traipse was cleverly saturated and barely equipped for a squirrel to ascend, let alone a klutzy, 140-pound seeker of beauty and scent. I was soon sliding down and away from my goal.

The mud oozed out of my fingers, shoes, down my entire right side, head and shoulder, and, oh no, my phone. As of my last check, the phone was still operable, but we know how temperamental they can be... I fully expect to be making an appointment at the genius bar within the next three days. Unfortunately, I do not expect to be the recipient of a great "pick-up line" at this particular bar. I should just make that appointment now, eh? It is certain that luck has not been in my camp, as of late. Given my recent introductions to the ground and curious border crossings with a smuggled banana, it might be best if I just sit at my desk for the next few days.

With mud dripping off me, I awkwardly inspected the most recent damage to my person and soon realized there was help close by in the form of the most lovely green garden hose I had ever seen. Water on full force, I was able to wash away the evidence of my failings, er..., fallings. If only the dismissal of bad business and its trappings were that simple. To effectively spray away missed opportunities, inappropriate language, or arrogant behavior and start with a clean, mud-free slate would truly be greeted with an eager welcome mat.

When faced with chances to display professionalism, what is your approach? There is so much talk about transparency and authenticity these days. What does that really mean? In order to be authentic, should you consider your audience at all or show a complete disregard of who they might be? Lack of respect is not authentic. It isn't even cool. Rarely are we offered second chances, so make the most of the first. Oh, and watch your step, the first one's a doozy, and occasionally oozy.

by rayannethorn

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