FOCUS: Snippets

Personal Mastery

Snippet: a small piece of something, a bit, a scrap, or fragment
Dictionary definition


I recently visited my daughter, Lisa, in California. Driving to the coast, we passed the Lagunitas Deli. I had a vivid memory of going there over twenty years ago on the way to a picnic. I asked the clerk, “Do you sell single rolls?” and he handed me a roll of toilet paper. “No, no, a sandwich roll,” I laughed. And he gave me the other kind of roll. Nothing worth remembering about that encounter, but I remember who I was with, the face of the clerk, our laughing together.

It seems to me that life is made up of snippets: scraps of time, memory, experience. It doesn’t surprise me that I remember the big highs and lows…the time I was climbing rocks on the beach and nearly got swept into the ocean when the tide came in faster than anticipated. The moments after giving birth. Of course, one would remember those. But it’s the small things, the snippets of memory or experience that entertain me on a daily basis.

  • When my son Gordon was two, he asked me to remove a “crumb of light” from his crib. It changed light for me and I’ll never forget the phrase. It may also have been the first clue that he would be a consummate wordsmith.
  • While on my morning walk last Thursday, a squirrel walked next to me along the top of a fence. At the end of the block we stopped and looked each other in the eye for what seemed like a long time before he skeedattled up a tree. For just a moment I felt genuinely connected to him. That reminded me of a time many years ago when a dolphin played peek-a-boo with me at the mouth of the Kiawah River for 3 mornings in a row!

This morning I was with friends who were sharing snippets. No complaining. No boasting. Just sharing. And being touched and tickled in turn.

I’m thinking we should write down some of our snippets, our stories. My grandfather did this, and I am so grateful. He lived in such a different time. Because I only knew him as a somewhat sedate older gentleman, it is delightful to know about the time he and his friends played a trick on their teacher by moving his buggy out of the garage and lodging it between two trees. Imagine their consternation when Mr. Brown turned out to be in the buggy they’d just moved, and said, “Thank you boys, I would have had to hitch the horses to move the buggy.”



  1. How can you become aware of and treasure your snippets of experience as you live them?

  2. What snippet in memory can you share to entertain both yourself and some friend or family member?

  3. Write your snippets down or record them. Your family and friends will be glad you did. (For some guidelines and great tips, visit my friend Sharon Lippincott’s blog The Heart and Craft of Life Writing, at


No telegathering this month because I'm off to two different conferences. However, I would love to have you share a snippet with me. Maybe I'll publish them (with your permission...with or without your name.)

Reach me: 1-888-907-HOPE (4673)or e-mail I am a personal and executive coach and would be happy to offer you a complimentary coaching session by phone. Each month FRESH VIEWS focuses on a single topic, relates it to one of the five disciplines of a learning community, and offers a coaching tip and a follow-up telegathering. Please forward it to friends and colleagues. My purpose in writing FRESH VIEWS is to nurture, prod and encourage readers to think and talk about these topics with their families, friends and colleagues. Mine is only one view. Multiple conversations may deliver us to insights only hinted at here. Such a process sustains the vitality of learning relationships, learning families, learning organizations and learning communities.

Sharon Eakes | 720 Maple Lane | Sewickley, PA 15143

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