Saturday, December 27, 2014

Performing Within Your Areas of Brilliance

Oh, man, did the video you'll see in awhile hit my inbox with pretty good timing -- not that I didn't know every bit of the information for a lot of years...
Now, I'm guessing it was something like 25- to 30-years ago when a meteor dropped from the heavens and bonked me off the noggin'.  I can't recall what I was doing at the time, but it's a pretty good bet that I was driving to or from some hockey commitment, and listening to an audio cassette of the motivational kind.  (Ya, I know I'm dating myself there, but I even had an 8-track player in one of my cars way back when.)

Anyway, what struck me was a revelation not unlike the one quoted by Aristotle in the accompanying graphic.  I mean, I suddenly came to the realization that I was very good at some things, and not so good at others.
This aside...  I honestly believe that all of us could be capable at just about anything.  So, I'm not saying I can't be a fair to middling bookkeeper, a fair carpenter, or get by as an auto mechanic.  What I am saying is that those things have not interested me beyond necessity, so I'd probably be wasting my time in attempts to master any of them.  (OR, I'd have to give up some of the things I'm extra-strong at in order to tackle something like one or more of them.)
Truly, though, I would probably not have a chance at being a world class performer in any of those professions.  No, I can't imagine myself reading into the night about numbers or wood joints or muffler systems, while I certainly could get lost in studying hockey teaching principles, the sciences involved in my sport, and the many other related topics.
I'm laughing to myself right now, recalling that I've told friends over the years to, "Just keep me supplied in coffee or diet soda -- with an occasional sandwich, and I'll get lost in my video work forever."
Okay, so the promised video...  As if it doesn't show that I usually practice what I preach, I follow this guy, Bedros Keuilian, who is a top fitness trainer out on the west coast.  I pay attention to what he says about training, of course, but I also keep up with his advice on running a sports related business.

More specifically, I like that Bedros is pretty good at offering advice for living the job of coaching or training, which brings me to the video that came in on Christmas Eve.  He dubbed it "How To Live Awesome", but I've kinda renamed it here, as "Performing Within Your Areas of Brilliance".  With that, please have a watch (or listen), before I add more...

If there's anything Bedros missed, it's the stuff I added up above.  In other words, before one can operate within his or her areas of brilliance, he or she has to know what those areas are -- as well as the areas that are not his or her cup of tea.

Then, before I get into my own pet peeve/s (as if you didn't know that was coming), take a look at my second graphic...
Ya, Einstein is offering some advice that's not only good for you and me -- for our work, but it's also useful for the way we deal with our kids (or young hockey players). 
As for the kids...  Imagine what we do to them when we ask the impossible.  Talk about setting them up to fail.
It's quite the same for you and me, though, when we expect ourselves to perform well at stuff we're just not cut out to do.  And, to carry that a step further, I think it's unfair of others to push us too hard towards things that just aren't up our alley.
With that, I consider myself a relative expert at a number of things, and probably in many more areas than others.  That came from first caring about a given topic, and then from totally submerging myself in it.  To me, though, it wasn't as difficult as it may sound.  For, as I've suggested a couple of times earlier, I was loving it, and it didn't even seem like work at all (ya, just keep that coffer or diet soda coming).
Yet another aside...  My dad was a pretty wise man, and his advice to his three sons never failed them.  For, when he was asked what we might do for work, he offered the same to each of us...  "Do what you love," he suggested, "and the rest will take care of itself."
Anyone who knows me well probably has seen me loving my work on the ice, or doing related things.  Baby brother has been a professional entertainer over the past 20-years around Orlando, mainly at venues within Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.  And, the brother we sadly lost just recently created inventions used by video people around the world, and at some of Hollywood's top movie studios.
Yup, do what you love, and the rest will take care of itself.
Why is that last statement so?  I think it's because one can only totally submerge himself or herself into something if there's real enjoyment involved.  Again, I was never going to be a great carpenter, if it wasn't what I thought about, day and night.

Now, all of the above isn't to say that we're off the hook in needing to do some things we don't like doing.  Out of necessity, I've had to make myself at least fairly well versed in Internet work, social media, optimizing my websites for search engines, doing the technical side of the stuff involved in my video work -- or converting it for access online, knowing the general nuts and bolts of running an online store, and actually a whole lot more.

Does that make your head spin -- that I have to do those things, above and beyond being a relative expert at hockey training?  Well, sometimes it strikes me that way, too.

Okay, as for my pet peeve/s...  I doubt the folks who drive me crazy understand any of the above.  And, in a way, I can't blame them for that.  It's not exactly the kind of stuff most people think about.

Truth be known, though, what can sometimes ruin my day is someone suggesting that something from their area of expertise is easy.  Ya, no kidding it's easy.  That's because THAT'S what they think about both day and night.  It's not, however, what I normally think about, and I could get lost pretty quickly if I even try.  Worse yet, trying usually costs me hours of work, if not days -- on the things I really should be doing.

I've gotten it from all sides, too, and more often from someone close to me, or from someone who should actually know better.  I'm mainly talking about family here, too -- and sometimes an old friend, telling me, "Gee, Dennis, you should just ______..."

Ya, "just..."  And, not wanting to be rude -- and tell them to leave me alone, I often head off at least trying to do something that I know in my heart is over my head, and something I know is goring to rob me of valuable time that should be spent elsewhere.

As I reflect back on some of those experiences, there were at least a few times when I suspected someone was trying to set me up to fail -- you know, trying to see if this old fish could climb a tree.  Did they succeed?  Hmmmmmm...  Most times I did fail -- and the chore just never got done.  At the same time, my ego has never suffered, because I've always accepted what I am and am not good at, without taking the latter personally.
Something kind of ironic...  I think one tendency that makes me a pretty good teacher is that I try not to talk over customers' heads, or snow them with too much technical stuff.  In fact, having had to learn a lot of Latin and other fancy terminology in my Phys Ed Degree studies, I've never used a single big word when addressing parents or players.  To the contrary, I've usually tried to reduce the complicated to very simple terms -- that's what a teacher does.  No, it's never made sense for me to cause anyone to feel stupid, just because they don't know what I do.
With that, my real point to this entry -- beyond getting something off my chest, is to suggest that we all need to eventually gain an understanding of what we're really good at.  And, to kinda twist my dad's words a little, I might suggest that, "Doing what you love is going to help you be successful, while doing too much of what you're not good at is likely to be your undoing."

As for me, I have to find a way to not let anyone drag me off course.  Sure, advice is good, and I know that most of it comes with some love.  At the same time, I have to let family and friends know that they are sometimes nearly killing me, or at least taking me away from any areas of brilliance I might have.

Lastly, if you like Bedros Keuilian's approach to things, visit his YouTube Channel for a lot more pretty good advice.