Have you ever stared down a big hunk of tree trunk with a chain saw in your hand?
And I don’t mean just to cut it up for firewood.
I had a new chainsaw. I had tree limbs that had fallen during a storm. I was stressed.
At first I was going to cut up the limbs so I could drag them out to the curb to be picked up by the brush recycle truck. I donned my safety glasses, closed toed shoes and sweat band around my head. I got into position, with the chainsaw poised to strike.
Did I mention that I had never operated a chain saw?
It was at that somewhat fearful moment that I realized there was an opportunity here. I began to see something in the wood. I remembered a woman that I met in Baton Rouge, selling cypress roots that were made into Santas. They were exquisite. I asked her how she found such perfect Santas in the roots. She said, “Oh, you just look at them and you can just see which ones look like Santa.”
I had been a doubter then. Now, with a deadly weapon in my hand, I could see something. An eye, a whimsical nose, a twist of character that called out to be released. And so I carved. Not with the broad blade, but with the tip. Coaxing and chunking out chips until a form appeared. I became Michelangelo discovering the “David” in a hunk of marble.
OK, maybe not.
But I was able to see the natural message of a twisted, broken branch that could be made beautiful, only in a different way. From wasted, fallen, storm-ravaged refuse to a new creature before my very eyes. The new creature that emerged was only a glimmer of what it had been before.
Exactly what I had experienced as a trainer: People blossoming. Beginning to learn, succeed and be motivated. Beginning to recognize some character deep within that they allowed to be released, developed and appreciated.
Have you experienced this? Challenge yourself to see those characters hidden in every learner. Help them release a new potential.
Just don’t use a chainsaw.
© Linda M. Farley www.LMFarley.com LMF@onr.com
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