Yellow Jacket

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli
Yellow Jacket

Despite the fact that it is the very frigid middle of winter, for some reason lately I’ve been thinking about the fall. Which has made me think about fall festivals. Which has made me think about this:

Fall in Indiana is gorgeous, an explosion of colors and festivals. Every weekend there is opportunity for hayrides, pumpkin picking, corn mazes, and lemon shakeups.  I love the fall, and I love those festivals.

But, there is one very constant companion to these festivals that puts a damper on the entire affair: Yellow jackets. In the fall these suckers are relentless. You put your life in your own hands if you dare to buy a corn dog or some dippin dots and try to sit on a picnic bench and enjoy them.

Some festival goers seem to have come to peace with this nuisance; calmly eating their festival fare, paying absolutely no mind to the handful of menacing yellow jackets hovering around them. It’s like they don’t even see the yellow jackets inching ever closer to their basket of french fries or alighting near their hand as they take a bite of  funnel cake.

Not me. At the first sight of a yellow jacket I become a wild person, swinging and flailing about, shoving my children out of the way, tossing our food far and wide. I feel immediately panicked and desire to get far, far away – in the biggest, loudest, most demonstrable way possible. It’s not a pretty sight. I’m amazed I haven’t been stung yet in my wild display of histrionics.

Something tells me my approach is not the most effective. Those calm people eating their pork tenderloins and ignoring the yellow jackets? I’ve never seen one jump up in horror from being stung. I’m sure it’s happened, but it’s not like they are falling over right and left.

So now, in the middle of winter with nary a yellow jacket in sight, I’m thinking that there are lots of things I can learn from those people, and those yellow jackets. How to remain calm in the face of perceived danger, how to make room for those around you even if you’re uncomfortable, how to keep your focus on what’s pleasant instead of what’s bothersome, and how to embrace the possibility of a future sting, because sometimes, that’s what happens. Good things for me to remember all year round.

How can you focus on the good though you might feel like bad is buzzing all around you?


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Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.