That time I dropped the spaghetti (three times)

No, you’re not crazy, and this isn’t Sunday morning. I like to mix it up from time to time and keep you beautiful people on your toes, so here’s a special mid-week edition of Illuminate Me.

For a while during my teenage years, I would knock over my glass of water nightly at the dinner table.

I swear this wasn’t intentional; it just happened. Every night. For what seemed like years (but was probably only a few weeks). So much so that my mom always had a spare dish towel at the ready to mop it up.

But that wasn’t even the worst of my growth spurt woes.

Long after my gangly teen arms had adjusted to their newfound length, I found myself with another dinner time catastrophe. And sadly, it featured a favorite meal of my childhood: my mom’s spaghetti and meatballs.

It all started so well. I eagerly loaded my place with those luscious strings of goodness, topping them with a delectable meatball set in a pool of red sauce. All that stood between me and my pasta was the three feet between the stove and the dinner table.

But in that longest yard, something terrible happened.

It turned out freshly cooked noodles weren’t just delicious; they were wet. And wet spaghetti was slippery.

You know those paper towels commercials where a kid unexpectedly spills something, and everything starts to move in slo-mo as their eyes widen with fear?

Yeah, that’s what I looked like as I clutched my plate and watched my dinner slide right off it and on to the floor.

Not once. Not twice. But three times. (Yes, really.)

No matter how carefully I reloaded, it was déjà vu all over again.

This hat trick of errors sent my sisters howling with laughter and my normally chill dad over the edge. (Remember, he managed to make it through my ongoing H2O spillage without losing his cool!)


Being the mortified and emotionally sensitive teenage girl I was, I ran to my room and cried.

(And for the record, my sweet dad later came by to console me.)

The “spaghetti incident” (as it’s known in my family) was a teachable moment (and no, not about how awkward teenagers and slippery dinners don’t go together).

It’s one thing to be determined (Dagnabbit, I’m gonna get that pasta!) and another to be completely clueless about *how* I was going about my goal.

We fall into this trap in our careers too. We become stuck in our old habits and ways or halfheartedly go through the motions and do the same things over and over again, hoping for the best.

But repeatedly doing the same thing expecting a different result is otherwise known as insanity. In my latest Forbes article, I share how to avoid professional déjà vu in 2021 and beyond.

But even when you know the right things to do, it can be hard to stick to them. It takes perseverance and grit. To help you develop yours, consider these seven questions:

And before I go, please tell me I wasn’t the only teenager whose limbs grew faster than her coordination.* Feel free to share your stories of awkwardness in the comments below.

Shine on,


P.S. First time here? Awesome! (Hey there, newbie!) Be sure to check out the website to catch up on previous issues.

P.P.S. One more thing: If you think this post would resonate with others, feel free to share it with your friends. Or better yet, invite them to join our Illuminate Me tribe!

*I mean, don’t *lie* about it, but surely I can’t be the only one, right? Don’t worry; it’s a safe space here.