Starting Somewhere


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Greetings. If you have ever had the pleasure of attending an elementary school orchestra or band concert, you probably had two clear thoughts about the music teacher. First, that this person has the patience of a saint..assuming that saints really do have a lot of patience. Because the typical elementary school student is, at best, a “casual” musician–playing in school for less than an hour a week then struggling (or should we say battling) to find the time or motivation to practice at home between classes. While their adoring parents cough up hundreds of dollars to rent junior an instrument of his choosing and suggest its role in his becoming a well-rounded and successful member of society at some distant date in the future. There are of course exceptions. But the number of music prodigies at your average or even above average elementary school is relatively small (i.e., a number that is likely to be approaching zero).

Second, that this person would probably have much greater job satisfaction if they taught older and more advanced students who actually appreciate the fact that the best elementary school music teachers can seemingly play every single instrument ever invented.

But there they are, on a stage in a cafeteria, coaxing the best out of each and every one of their young students against all odds and applauding every promising note, precise pizzicato, and moment of harmony no matter how fleeting. All with an eye toward the remarkable progress made by relatively modest effort and the potential of some of these students to make music and performance a more significant part of their lives moving forward.

These concerts are also about the simple and important notion that each of us has to start somewhere in order to find our true passion and become remarkable at something. And that music is a perfect starting place, because it really is an innate human talent that all of us can enjoy for our entire lives. An essential part of every culture that has ever graced the planet. A single language with the power to break down barriers that divide even the fiercest of adversaries.

A starting point but not an end point.

And so it is with the newest and youngest employees in all of our companies and organizations. People filled with great energy and possibilities who sometimes strike the wrong notes at the beginning. But who, in time, could make remarkable contributions if we chose to see them as starting points with unlimited potential to reinvent the songs we play rather than end points with only a casual interest in an old familiar tune.

We win in business and in life when we appreciate the importance of starting anywhere as an essential step in getting somewhere far more remarkable.


Republished with author's permission from original post.

Alan Gregerman
Alan Gregerman is an award-winning author, consultant and keynote speaker who has been called "one of the most original thinkers in business today" and "the Robin Williams of business consulting." His work focuses on helping companies and organizations to unlock the genius in all of their people in order to deliver the most compelling value to their customers.


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