Cultivating Delight

Isn’t it funny how sometimes when things don’t go the way you expect them to go, they can somehow turn out better than they would have otherwise?

The other night we went to the Farmer’s Market. Well, actually, we were hoping to go to the Farmer’s Market and it turned out there was no market. I don’t know what happened, but there we were, recyclable bags and Costa Rican Colones in hand, and nothing to buy!

So, off we went to our favorite pizza place across the street. We got there and…something was amiss. There were no lights! There was no electricity! But they assured me that, yes, they were indeed open, as long as we ordered pizza and beer, it would be fine. (Well, okay then!)

When we sat down, it was about 5:15 in the evening. What hadn’t occurred to us was that it gets dark here in Costa Rica at about 5:30. So, 15 minutes into our dinner experience, there we were, sitting in the dark.

I looked around, no candles, just darkness, so I whipped out my phone, downloaded a candle app, and voilà! Let there be light!

Ten minutes later, our waitress brought out a real taper candle and we had the loveliest candlelit dinner ever!

It’s taken me years to lean into the unexpected. As a recovering control freak who comes from a long line of controllers, I like to know what I can count on. I feel more sure of myself in environments I can control. But what I’ve found is that, more often than not, delight lives in the unexpected. If you expect it, it somehow loses its magic.

So now I practice letting go (and moving to a foreign country gives me lots and lots of opportunities to practice!). I am training myself to delight in the unknown.

Even now, at this very moment, I got to practice! I’m trying to finish my writing and my husband wakes up and wants to show me some silly Zoom thing that showed up in his news feed (Google “texas lawyer cat filter and you’ll find it). At first, I was tense and curt, “I need to finish my writing! I’m focused!” But 20 seconds later I was laughing so hard that tears were rolling down my face!


We need more delight in our lives! 

Lean into the unexpected. The unplanned. The unknown. For it’s in those moments when we dare to let go that we find the real beauty in being human.

©A Thoughtful Company, LLC


Kimberly Davis
Kimberly Davis
An expert on authentic leadership, Kimberly Davis shares her inspirational message of personal power, responsibility, and impact with organizations across the country and teaches leadership programs world-wide; most notably, her program “OnStage Leadership” which runs in NYC and Dallas, TX. Additionally, Kimberly teaches for Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) Cox School of Business’s Executive Education Program's Transformational Leadership Program and their Latino Leadership Initiative. She is also privileged to teach for the Bush Institute’s WE Lead Program (empowering female leaders from the Middle East). Kimberly is a TEDx speaker and her book, Brave Leadership: Unleash Your Most Confident, Authentic, and Powerful Self to Get the Results You Need, is the 2019 winner of the Benjamin Franklin Silver Award for Business and Career; an Amazon Bestseller in Business Leadership, Business Motivation, and Self-Improvement, and Motivational Business Management; and was named as the number one book to read in Inc. Magazine’s “The 12 Most Impactful Books to Read in 2018,” with a cover-endorsement by best-selling author Daniel Pink.

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  1. Kimberly — Thank you showing how even a minor life event can provide a powerful lesson. As a recovering Type AA personality, I’ve struggled my entire life with being comfortable with ambiguity or a disrupted plan. No, I always had to plan out every detail so that nothing could go “wrong.” In high school, my friend and I would drive into Chicago a day or two in advance of a double date to learn where parking and the venue / restaurant were. We HAD to look like we knew what we were doing! Thankfully some of my wife’s “plot twist!” DNA is rubbing off on me – although I can still slip into some old behaviors. On a recent trip to Amsterdam, I had planned a food tour for my in-laws and my wife and me. When we showed up at the starting point, we learned – much to my embarrassment – that we had come a day early. I was mortified. They brushed it off and quickly suggested other plans. Oh well….

    The pizza was good, I take it?

    • I’m a planner too, Jeff, so I get it! I admit to white-knuckling the free fall in life!
      The pizza was good – definitely not NY pizza, but for CR, it’s good!

  2. Kimberley,
    Love this… know this… still practicing every day here in Portugal!
    We had an experience at the Post Office where we were trying to mail important documents. After waiting in line for over an hour, for the first time there was a huge language barrier. We were so frustrated that we just started laughing. A wonderful english speaking woman at the back of the line came to our rescue. We walked out and said… Lets go get some ice cream (10:00 am)! It was a wonderful day…