Experience and enthusiasm

“Experience and enthusiasm are two fine business attributes seldom found in one individual.”

—William Feather, 19th Century American Publisher

Image of a man leaping for joy on a mountain top

Image from Unsplash by Peter Conlan

How much experience do you have in your current profession?

How enthusiastic do you feel each morning as you head off to work?

If you are among the fortunate few, you would score high on each measure.

If, however you are like many people, you often begin your work efforts or new job with considerable enthusiasm, and only minimal or modest experience.

As time moves on and experience increases, many find their excitement and enthusiasm beginning to fade, sometimes to the point of reaching a dead end.

EXERCISE:

What strategies and approaches can and will you take on to maintain or – better yet – increase your current levels of enthusiasm? How might this help you gain greater experience and mastery in your chosen profession?

We are inclined to think

“We are inclined to think that if we watch a football game or a baseball game, we have taken part in it.”

—John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States

Image of a crowd at a sporting event

Image from Flickr by Danny Molyneux

Are you a sports fan? How many hours a week do you watch sporting events on TV? How often do you go to games or events in person?

Without question, the energy and excitement around sporting events – football, baseball, the upcoming Olympics, even golf – can be off the charts. Many people experience the by-product bursts of adrenaline through our proximity to these spectacles.

What if you lived in Roman times and were among the spectators in the Colosseum, where the game involved life or death? Clearly you would not wish to be one of the people facing the lions!

EXERCISE:

Where in your personal or professional life are you sitting on the sidelines as a spectator, thinking that somehow, you are actually in the game?

Where is it time to suit up and get on the field to actually experience life’s contests yourself?

Your Story Could Be The Key

“Your story could be the key that unlocks some else’s prison. Don’t be afraid to share it.”

—Author Unknown

Image of an open book

How many of the following roles do you currently play in your personal or professional life?

•  Parent                      •  Teacher                  •  Coach                 •  Trainer
•  Mentor                     •  Advisor                   •  Consultant           •  Role Model
•  Spiritual Guide          • Trusted Friend          •  Subject Matter Expert

If you selected several, you must have a considerable amount of life experience to share with family, friends, and colleagues who may be experiencing various setbacks and challenges.

EXERCISE:

Although I frequently encourage a “coach approach” to facilitate the internal learning capacity of those around us, please take the wisdom of today’s quote and note when it is time to share your stories and experiences generously as a contribution to those in need.

A Collection of Experiences

“Life is simply a collection of experiences. Your job is to increase the intensity and then the frequency of those experiences.”

-Jim Rohn, late American entrepreneur, author & motivational speaker

Life is about making memories. If you doubt this idea, you only need to examine Facebook and other Social Media sites to observe the highlights from someone’s vacation, weekend, or other significant events. We all like to see what interesting and sometimes amazing experiences our friends and families are having. Of course, we far prefer to engage in these experiences ourselves!

EXERCISE:

Create your own one week, one month, and one year bucket list to be more intentional about increasing the intensity and frequency of your life experience collection.

The Things We Know Best

“The things we know best are things we haven’t been taught.”

—Luc de Clapiers, 18th Century Marquis de Vauvenargues

My first career, fresh out of college, was as a teacher. It was my belief at the time that it was my job to literally pour my knowledge of life science into the minds of 25 sixth grade students. What I discovered was that very little got in, and even less of my brilliant lessons stuck for more than a week or two.

One of my fascinations over the years, and particularly since I began my career in coaching, is what some call the “stickiness” factor. It turns out that most of life’s greatest and enduring lessons occur through experiential learning, in which the student is fully engaged, even lost, in their own inquiry.

EXERCISE:

What areas of personal or professional development are you and others in your world most open, interested, and excited about? How can you structure a deep and meaningful learning experience in these areas?

If You Are Irritated

“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”

-Rumi, 13th Century Persian Poet

Image from Flickr by Orbital Joe

Image from Flickr by Orbital Joe

When was the last time you visited a fine jewelry store? Imagine yourself in one, examining all the beautiful diamonds and gem stones.

I am sure that If you were to go back in time to when these stones were pulled form the earth, you wouldn’t recognize them. They would be dull, rough, and unremarkable. It takes considerable rubbing and skilled cutting to bring out their brilliance.

EXERCISE:

How and where can you examine and appreciate the daily rubs of life as experiences and resources to bring about your personal and professional brilliance?

Choices Reflect Your Hopes

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”

-Nelson Mandela

image from www.cbc.ca

image from www.cbc.ca

There are two primary schools of thought regarding what spurs people into action. The first is what I call the “avoiding pain” strategy, in which people examine the bad things that may occur if they don’t take action. Some sales methods take advantage of this approach by turning up the level of pain in order to compel people to buy a product or service.

The alternative strategy, suggested in Nelson Mandela’s statement, could be called the “pleasure strategy.” Here, a compelling and hopeful objective mobilizes us to choose certain actions and behaviors that will help us realize our desirable future.

EXERCISE:

What will you do to make the majority of your life choices—personally and professionally—from a more hopeful perspective?

The Foolish Man

“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.”

-James Oppenheim, American poet, novelist, and editor

QC #914

I am currently reading The Art of Happiness by the Dali Lama. His teaching indicates that the purpose of life is to be happy.

Foolishly, many people pursue their happiness through extrinsic factors. Although many of these pursuits can result in pleasurable moments, rarely do they produce enduring or sustainable happiness. Wise people, on the other hand, have learned over the years that intrinsic factors much closer to home are the source of a meaningful and more enduring form of happiness.

EXERCISE:

How can you increase your own personal happiness by embracing more factors that lie right under your feet, and far fewer in the distance?

Changing Us

“Sometimes the things we can’t change end up changing us.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Flickr by Sebastien Wiertz

Image from Flickr by Sebastien Wiertz

A topic that comes up fairly frequently in my coaching sessions these days is aging. As someone in the middle of the Baby Boom Generation, I see that most of my contemporaries are also experiencing the “grayification” of our society. We’re dealing with aging parents and our own health and fitness related issues.

Despite all of our best efforts to eat better, exercise more, and get much-needed rest to renew and recharge, we are heading toward an entropy of life, where things begin to break down and stop working optimally.

There happens to be a new form of coaching called “Eldering.” One of its tenets is to assist people in navigating these years with more grace, dignity, and life mastery.

EXERCISE:

How can you adjust, adapt, or change yourself in relationship to those issues and situations that are unchangeable, to more fully experience a life of greater happiness and fulfillment?

Thorn of Experience

“One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning.”

—James Russell Lowell, 20th Century American poet, critic, and diplomat

Image from Flickr by Taro Taylor

Image from Flickr by Taro Taylor

Perhaps the single most significant reason the coaching profession has grown to over a $2 billion industry is the fact that it focuses a great degree on experiential learning. Although there is still a substantial value in telling and showing, it seems the stickiness and sustainability of the lesson comes from experiencing things firsthand, where we actually get on the field, run a few plays, and see what happens.

EXERCISE:

Where and how can you include far more experiential learning opportunities to help you progress even further in your life?