But I have one hesitation. While he loves to perform, he hates to practice. Well, I can’t truthfully say he hates practice because he’s never practiced anything to know how he really feels about practice! He has an aversion to repetition for the sake of mastery. My son has always felt that whatever he did was good enough. Even great! So why practice? For him, it’s all about the performance and to hell with perfection! (Just one more thing that makes him so very different from his mother.) Maybe as he grows up his metanarrative of life will be something very different than mine. I see everything as connected and having a Purpose. I believe my life – and every life – is moving towards a Destiny. So the present and my response to it are practice for what’s ahead. And all that’s past is rehearsal for the present. Motherhood equipped me for corporate management. Working hard to be a good mom, usually feeling like a failure, I eventually realized that mothering – and any kind of healthy people management - is not about planning good programs or following effective formulas, but about building trust with unique human beings. In a trusting relationship, failures are not disasters, only another opportunity to practice for the next time. Life in India was, among other things, practice for returning to the U.S. The culture and the organization I worked for had changed greatly in the 5 years I was gone. My cross-cultural experience and skills being perfected in another cultural context had to be put into practice back home. The journey of forgiveness I was forced to walk during my parents’ divorce still gets encore performances every day in my own marriage and in many other personal and professional relationships. Realizing my own courage and strength as a leader in a previous and very difficult job gave me the idea (and the boldness) for the life script I’m living today. There are so many lessons learned over the past 53 years of “practicing” life in 8 U.S. states, 3 countries and oh so many amazing relationships and jobs. Every day in my new city I get to put into practice what I’ve learned in other places. And I’m sure the things I’m living and learning in Dubai are not only for my good today, but are in some way rehearsal for all that is ahead. My son doesn’t see it that way. He has a different metanarrative. Or perhaps he doesn’t even think in terms of an all-encompassing framework to make sense of his life and the world! Because for him, today is not practice. It’s the performance. And that’s true, too.
Today’s problems and possibilities are another opportunity to choose to put into practice what you’ve learned by both success and failure.
As you think about life today, what conflict, dilemma, or question is consuming your energy and time or challenging your creativity or patience?
What have you experienced in the past that might have been practice for your present situation? What skills have you rehearsed that need to be put into practice now? What insights have you gained about yourself or others?You have what it takes to perform well - or better - today. Or at least to make new mistakes.