Many will say … “if only I could go back and …” But I’m finding that one of the blessing of children and teaching is that you do get to go back.
by Pete Ferguson
If you really could go back in time, same set of circumstances, same knowledge, do you really think you would change things?
I guess there is the possibility, but the reality of life is that we can’t.
And that is why coaching, mentoring, teaching and parenting is so rewarding. We can go back to our set of circumstances – through another individual – and provide the resources for them to launch into success we would liked to have had.
I’m learning that it is much like the saying of “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force it to take a drink.” Which is why teaching and parenting is a constant and continual process.
It is as if Life is testing our resolve – if we really could go back would we change?
Yesterday I had two experiences that got me thinking about how we cannot judge success until we look at a very long span of time.
First, I spoke to the wife of one of my first attempts at career coaching. I had felt I had utterly failed because I didn’t have a Tony Robbins moment with my client turning his life around in six weeks and launching into a million dollar business. But after two years, his wife is thanking me for giving him hope, believing in him and investing in him when he was at his darkest hour.
What Tony Robbins obviously does not talk about in infomercials are the millions who have listened to his products – like me – and haven’t yet taken off like a rocket out of orbit. It is a commercial, he of course highlights the 1% who already had a lot going for them and needed that last massive nudge to clear their own gravity.
Coaching and parenting is like planting a garden. You put in a seed, and it takes many months of constant feeding and care before the end result. When it comes to a tree, it takes many years if not decades. And so it goes.
The second event happened last night watching my son Mark, nick-named “Moe,” 14 and a freshman, play first chair cello at their Winter Concert. He is the youngest first chair anything for his high school orchestra. While I was taking video for his scholarship resume, I scanned all of the chairs for violin and cello.
On the front row, Mark was keeping up with a violinist who is a Junior but already accepted to Juilliard. Mark is not at her level, but he fights to keep with her. I was amazed that this is my flesh and blood (mostly Steph’s when it comes to the musical gene).
In contrast, however, the back row of instruments were not even moving their bows or fingers! At first I was shocked, but then I had a painful flashback of me in 8th Grade Orchestra.
I had known enough to not be in basic orchestra, but then I didn’t apply myself enough to do much in the advanced orchestra, and I was always in the very back row. And I remember well sitting there trying to pretend to fit in but not playing loud enough to be heard because I had chosen to hang out with friends and chase down girls over practicing.
And that is how time heals wounds if we take action – we are given a second, third, fourth, etc. opportunity to rewrite history through paving the path for the future!
And it is one of the most rewarding experiences ever!
At work I am thankful to have the same opportunity. We are putting together programs to take brand new employees and accelerate their ability to learn, develop and grow in a very compressed time period. Those willing and able will not have to take 15 years like me to learn what I have learned. They will get the knowledge in 2-3 years and then apply it in real situations.
Mark’s email address is YoYoMoe@ … and if he is persistent, he has a good shot at becoming his own version of Yo Yo Ma.
What talents are you hiding under a bushel that you could be helping out another with instead?