Learning to Walk
Meditations of a Mentor
We just had family over, and I was able to play with the grandchildren. One, Kaitlyn, is just learning to walk. It is a lot of fun to watch.
She's wobbly. She falls a lot. She often needs a hand to hold, maybe just a pinkie or finger for confidence. She prefers to walk towards people who are reaching out their arms for her. She bumps into things and bears a few scrapes from obstacles she has encountered. Somehow it doesn't seem to hurt as much when she bumps her head or elbow or knee - perhaps the intense focus keeps her mind off the pain.
The main thing is that when things don't go well, she just gets up and tries again.
I have noticed something about those of us around her. We clap when she takes steps - even if it's just one or two. We reach out to help her up when she topples. We praise her and cheer for her, even when she falls. We hold our arms out for her so she knows where she can fall safely.
We even tell other people how she is doing, dwelling on the steps and triumphs, not on the tumbles. We consistently and actively encourage her to get up and try again.
In all this, I have never heard anyone say, "Well, Kaitlyn, you keep falling - maybe this walking stuff is not for you. Better stick to crawling."
Nobody tells her, "I know someone that tried that and still can't walk; save yourself the trouble."
So far no observer has muttered, "Wow, this sure is taking you a long time to figure out. Your sister walked a lot earlier."
Kaitlyn has never heard, "I don't thing you're supposed to walk yet. It's too early. Sit back down and let us carry you for awhile."
Nobody rushes in exclaiming, "Don't, Don't, Don't - you know you always fall when you do that!"
Where It is All Going
At this time, Kaitlyn still struggles to walk well. Soon enough she will run with ease. After all, her uncle, Seth, who at age eight took second place in the "Up-to-14-years-old" classification of the community 5-K race last year, struggled to learn to walk as she does now.
We are all very careful to encourage Kaitlyn in a very positive environment. After all, she hasn't developed the judgment through experience that will inform her that what one person says is valid and what another person might say is ill-conceived, incorrect or even done with malevolence. So we give her support and help her build self-confidence, because the world out there doesn't care much about Kaitlyn and her well-being. We build her up so she has the strength to contend with the world
Meanwhile, let's look at ourselves, We have been out there in what we call the real world for some time. The little scrapes and bruises that Kaitlyn accumulates in learning to walk look minimal compare to what our stumbles and falls have deposited on the tender surfaces of our souls. Nobody gets out of this life experience unscathed.
The question is, however, how do we react - or better said - respond to what life gives us. We cannot control the hand dealt us, but how do we play it?
Your New (Ad)Venture
By investing in the coaching program, you have taken a
major step in your life and made a major investment.
You wouldn't have done so had you not deeply desired
to bring about change - improve your life and your
standing. It might be because you hate your job, or
because you want to create a better life for your family,
or because you want to be in the financial position to
donate your time to a good cause. Your reasons are
personal but they are very real to you.
In many cases, as soon as people around you - people
very close to you, and some not so close - learned that
you had spent money to create a new business
opportunity for yourself, the negativity began. It doesn't
matter why they are negative: it could be genuine
concern for your well-being, it could be jealousy, it could
be the lobster in a bucket phenomenon (when one starts
to escape the others pull him back down).
The fact is, that most of you have to deal with it on one
level or another. You probably will not have the same
loving support group that Kaitlyn enjoys - or that you
had when you learned to walk. Yes, sometimes it sucks
to grow up, but only when you take responsibility for yourself
do you enjoy true freedom (Kaitlyn doesn't always like what she has to eat, she hates her bed-time, and she would rather go outdoors anytime she wants all by herself, but it's not allowed).
We as mentors are happy to be your support group, but the only support you can truly
depend on is what you have inside you. If you ever feel your enthusiasm flagging, or
you sense discouragement overwhelming you, if people call you foolish for thinking
you could better yourself, or some $8.00 an hour county employee takes out her life
frustrations on you, the only antidote is to reach down inside and make contact again with the reasons you had in mind when you signed up for the program.
You see, all those negatives are obstacles. Obstacles are part of life. What would miniature golf be without walls and windmill blades? That's why we like the statement: "Obstacles are those frightening things you see when you take your eyes off your goal." When you are focused intently on what you want - even on the simple task at hand - that pushes obstacles off to the side where they are only in your peripheral vision instead of looming right in front and intimidating you. If you hardly notice the obstacles, they just don't get in the way.
In short, make sure you know exactly what you wanted from this business in the beginning. After all, how can you ever work to obtain what you want until you know clearly and for sure what it is you do want? Then focus only on the simple, daily tasks of doing the business. In this case nothing else matters. You are probably not going to get all the emotional support that Kaitlyn gets from those around you, but that support is within you and it is enough.
You deserve the good things in life as much as anybody else. The law of cause and effect says that if you do the right things, you will get the effects and results you want, which makes you equal to every other human being.
We will support you as mentors, but you are the key to your success. Now go out and make it happen!