A post from guest blogger, Leslie Nicol, Business Program Chair:
One of my favorite things about summer is being able to open all of the windows to let the outdoors move through my house. I love to hear the birds chirping, the sound of a lawn
mower in the distance and the leaves rustling as the wind brushes against each branch—these sounds of the summer I anticipate every year and look forward to. However, this past summer, what I did not anticipate was listening to my neighbor’s tween daughter’s first encounters with learning the clarinet.
Every morning at 9am and every evening after dinner, I was an unintentional audience to every awkward stage as the girl worked through each note hoping to make it through
the scales flawlessly. I have to admit, I was royally annoyed with having to be a victim of her learning curve. I would be going about my business enjoying the sounds of nature, which were now suddenly drowned out by the painstaking sounds of this musical instrument.
I would loudly slam my windows shut thinking, “Why can’t they shut their windows?” and
“Do they realize how annoying that is?” I accepted defeat, realized this was just a phase she is going through and that I would have to sacrifice my love of the fresh air in the house for the remainder of the summer.
It wasn’t until late August that I had a change of heart. I was in the middle of much delayed spring cleaning on a Saturday morning when her first practice of the weekend began. The irritation that I expected to feel wasn’t there. I heard her make it through the entire piece without having to stop to start over! “The girl’s practice was paying off,” I thought as she glided from one note to the next and successfully finished “Hot Cross Buns” for the first time in a month. I was unexpectedly overwhelmed with appreciation that I was able to be privy to her development in the arts. Where was this appreciation before? And why hadn’t I realized how beautiful this whole situation really is?
As she moves forward to the next stage of learning, and essentially starting all over again with the same fumbling fingers, her new song awaits to be mastered. Each song is a challenge, just like the challenges the world puts in front of us; her musical journey sort of
like our friendships, our classes, or careers. We sometimes struggle to play the right way and fumble through the mistakes, maybe hit the wrong notes, and sometimes we have to start all over again in order to make it to the next challenge that is in store. Just as her practice is making her a better player with more music to share, each challenge we face is an opportunity to develop personally and professionally.
In the business world, employers are looking for employees who can persist through those mistakes, stressful days and difficult projects. The boss man wants to see his team struggle a little to get to the right solution, essentially it creates a more-rounded employee who can
adapt, collaborate and appreciate their team just as I learned to appreciate my neighbor’s musical evolution.
These learning curves in life and in our careers are essential to making us the best we can possibly be on the job and at home. Every time we master a new task (i.e. play Hot Cross Buns flawlessly), resolve a conflict, or adapt to a change–we grow. My advice to you is to be as malleable as possible, work hard and enjoy the learning curves of life.