How to develop and deepen our ability to thrive when life serves up BIGStuff issues. Resiliency helps us with our relationships, health, happiness, school grades, graduation and peace of mind. Plus job success, aging with more ease and so much more.
My Dad shared a conversation with me I’ve reflected on for many
years. It still sits top of mind for me. He first shared it with me when I was just
12 years old. I’d just started my first stand alone business. I’d had a paper
route (Grew it from 27 to 58 customers in 20 months) , shovelled snow, been
very successful selling door-to-door and done lots of odd jobs. However, I’d
never had a stand-alone business where I was in charge of everything.
I had and have an abundance of energy. However, don’t call
me hyper. I hate it, does that mean if you’re mellow you’re lethargic? I have this
abundance of energy I love to harness to get things done and make things
happen! So at 12 my parents figured I best have something positive to focus on
and use that energy that summer as school drew to a close.
So they put their heads together included me and asked me
what I thought of having my own business. I loved it.A little freedom, plus hard work, some income and a chance being the
extrovert I am meet some new people. A great way to invest time in that summer.
So a lawn mower and supplies was shopped for, purchased and
brought home. My paper route reputation
made it relatively easy to get my first few customers. My little business grew
as did my modest bank account. Soon I had to stop taking customers. Eleven
lawns, two of them being a 1/3 to ½ acre in size kept me very busy.
Soon enough, that lawn mower needed some maintenance. That’s
when my father took me out to teach me a few keys on how to maintain power engines
and mowers.He showed me how to clean
the air filter, re oil the filer, he taught me how to gap the spark plug, retighten
the wheels, then check all the bolts and nuts for the correct tension. Then,
just as I thought we we’re done, the lessons was shared.
It was time to sharpen the lawn mower blade. My father as a
Master Machinist was no slouch when it came to working with his hands and with metal.
His home tool kit was far from average as was his skill set. At one point he’d
been tasked to join a team and work for NASA where he’d had to sign off on the
official secrets act of the day. Then he helped build and assemble two satellites
over an 18 month period for the then “space race”.
Dad called me over to his wrench set and asked me to
consider what size of nut held the blade on? Then, would given the
configuration and placing / spacing of the nut on the blade relative to it’s
location in the mower should I use an open face wrench, a close face wrench, or
a socket and ratchet set? Any of them as it turned out. There was lots of space
to work with. So each of them served the purpose just fine. However once I took the nut off and before the
blade was removed, Dad had then showed me that this was no ordinary nut. Michael:
Note the quality of the design and
machining. He had me notice that this was a very specialized nut with a safety
feature built in. This nut had a specialized special non metallic insert of
what we used to call “space age material” that was fitted into the nut in such
a way that when the nut was tightened onto the mower blade shaft it stayed on tight. I enjoyed hearing my Father extoll how the
excellence in design and production of this nut ensured a safer experience for
many hours of lawn cutting.
However once the blade was off the mower and cleaned, and
the safety glasses went on, then proper angle to sharpen the blade had to be determined.
Dad set the guide to rest the blade against the grinder and proceeded to
sharpen one side of the blade.
Then he turned off the grinder. Then he handed the blade off
to me and said “ So where is your hand placement going to be to a) be safe, b) help
guide the blade?” I showed him. Then I was then I was in the midst of experiencing
what he’d learned from his coworkers when he as a 16 year old apprentice in the
process to be a machinist, a master machinist.
Well as much as that was a great lesson lesson, it’s what he
shared with me next as he coached me into putting the blade back on the lawn
mower ~ right side up! Tested the
tightness of the bolt (with the specialized insert) and offered his approval.
That is when his insightful life long lesson was shared.
He took me back to his first few weeks on the job as a new
apprentice. He had 12 machinists in the shop he worked in. Each one over the first
weeks took him aside to teach him how to sharpen the tools they worked with.
Well, most did, all but one of them did. Dad explained that despite being shown by most of them several times how to sharpen the cutting bits in the shop
each time he held his tongue and watched, listened and for the first couple of
times learned. However by the 10 and 11th time they all showed him
the same process and same outcome. He remained patience and listened. That’s
when the very quiet one took him aside. “I want to share with you something –
This lot won’t do.” He then showed my Dad.He then took him over to the grinding wheels and proceed to show him how
to sharpen a drill bit in a slightly different manner that both sharpened the
cutting edge, helped it stay sharper longer and the cutting bit lasted a little
My Dad’s lesson I
wanted share with you:
My Dads lesson that day to share with you is this: You never know
who is watching us while we are listening and learning. Their added insights
and contribution if we are open to it can be a game changer.
I have been very fortunate in life to have several mentors
that have been first rate. One of my best after my Dad, was Trevor Hunt.He offered wisdom, patience and respect. He
was skilled at coaching me in process and the key skills to be my very best
during my first few months in business-to-business sales. Who mentors you? Who
do you mentor?
So until next time Imagine Yourself with more Resiliency for
Life Travel well. Be safe.