Besides being a ton of fun hanging out with my two grandcritters, Ben (8) and Luke (4); it’s been a terrific reminder of how we develop and grow as human beings.
You’ve been around little kids and tried to reach in to help them with a puzzle or draw a picture. The result is inevitably, “No! I can do it myself. I don’t need your help.”
And they’re right. The puzzle may not get assembled correctly and the drawing may be unrecognizable, but it’s absolutely the best way for them to learn and have fun. Mistakes are not a big deal and minor successes bring great joy.
But what about when we as adults decline opportunities for coaching because we’re afraid of how we will look? We might be embarrassed so we decline the offers!
In my early years as life insurance agent, our agency manager asked me to line up appointments in Fort Dodge so he could drive up from Des Moines and sit in on them. Although I had the greatest respect for him, I regret to this day always coming up with some excuse for not taking him up on it.
Because I was doing well in sales, he quit bugging me. Although relieved at the time–it was a big mistake. I’ll never know what ideas he might have had to make me a better salesperson. The reason I rejected his coaching is that I feared not living up to the image I wanted to project.
What a bunch of crap! I was afraid of getting my iddy-biddy little feelings hurt (pride) in case he didn’t think everything I did was superb. Also, I was afraid (fear) that he would come to town and I wouldn’t have enough appointments. That was dumb thinking. It would have afforded him the opportunity to coach me on my phone skills.
If given a do-over; I’d say, “Absolutely, Jim. How much time can you spare?”
How can I be so sure of that? Because I’ve taken every opportunity since to grow professionally and personally. People are all over the place with skills and talents that they’re willing to share. If it’s something that interests me or will make me better at what I do, I take them up on it in a New York minute.
And the same is true of friends whom I admire:
Janet is a former high school student of mine and published author. She ran into a mental block while working on her second novel; but instead of quitting, signed up for an online creative writing class from the University of Wisconsin.
John is a fifty-seven year old professional writer who wants to become a professional speaker. Too old? Don’t tell him that. He recently joined Toastmasters to polish his skills. He gives lectures free-of-charge to church and civic groups in preparation for bigger and better things.
And there others.
My challenge to you is to not go it alone. Take every advantage you can of those who have been there, done that and bought the tee-shirt. Learn from their mistakes ‘cuz you’ll make plenty of your own.
Historically, in a five-year time span more than 80% of new businesses fail. The exceptions are those who start with a franchise; 80% plus of those are still going strong five years later. That’s because they’re not too proud to take the advice of experts.
It’s fine when Luke–at four–says, “No, Grandpa, I’ll do it myself.”
But if Bill–at sixty-four–says it; he’s an idiot!
Bill Sheridan—SHERIDAN WRITES, LLC
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