Reflection: One thing for sure about the many roads of life is that no matter where you are in your travels, someone has been down that path already and someone else is just taking a first step along the way. On any given journey, we may find ourselves the experienced travel pro or the novice at the starting gate.
Whether it’s struggling with a new leadership role in the workplace, trying to figure out how best to parent a headstrong teenager, or coping with a time of life when everybody needs you – or when no one seems to need you – someone, somewhere has already worked their way through that puzzle and out the other side.
I was thinking about this the last time I took a painting workshop from my first mentor in the world of art, Cecelia Jurgens. Cecelia is a very accomplished artist and an equally encouraging instructor. Along with the samples of her current work (always inspiring), she occasionally brings along a few of her earliest sketchbooks (equally inspiring).
I’m sure Cecelia would agree that, compared to where she is now in her career, the work in those early sketchbooks isn’t quite as accomplished. And, THAT is exactly what gives those who are just starting out along the path hope that their skills, too, will grow and develop.
Action: My point is there are countless opportunities in everyday exchanges with others to share what has been learned along the way. And, opening up about the difficulties along with the triumphs is that much more helpful.
Maybe you’re a late career leader watching a young employee challenged mightily by work-life balance issues – issues that you’ve long since resolved for yourself. How inspiring and useful might it be for you to share your own struggles and the strategies that helped you find your way through that demanding period in your life?
Maybe you’re a young techno savvy pro watching a senior manager struggling to embrace the workings of social media. It might be reassuring for you to acknowledge some of your confusions in making things work, and demonstrate a shortcut or two you’ve found to be of value.
And if you’re the one in the middle of the muddle, it can’t hurt to reach out for a bit of encouragement and advice from someone who seems to have ‘it’ all together.
It’s not just the ‘how-to-info’ that adds value, it’s access to the stories and trials behind the scenes that makes the real difference. It’s the inside scoop on struggling through tough times – not just the ultimate shining example of having arrived – that gives us all stamina for the journey.
Quotes Of The Week:
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – William Arthur Ward
“We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.” – Whoopi Goldberg
“Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.” – Albert Schweitzer
“Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.” – Japanese Proverb
Resource Of The Week: The Daily Muse blog offers three points In Praise Of Mentoring. (Note: Her title may be irreverent, but the content is relevant.)
Attendees Speak: This week, feedback from an individual who attended a recent presentation I gave on ‘Easing Life’s Load In The Workplace’. S writes: Last month I attended your presentation and I wanted to thank you for your advice. I’m consciously reminding myself of your pause concepts and practicing them to great effect. I see my colleagues who missed your presentation getting overwhelmed because they don’t have my new overload survival skills. Thanks again for your great advice!
PS – Info Note To Manitoba Readers: I will be attending a conference in Winnipeg, December 1 through 4. If your organization is interested in a booking on either shoulder day (November 30 or December 5th) let me know. Since airfare is already covered, fewer costs for you!
Tags: appreciation, art, burnout, communication, encouragement, inspiration, leadership, learning, motivation, overload, overwhelm, painting, Pat Katz, Patricia Katz, pause, perspective, Saskatoon, speaker, stress, success