HOW FASCINATING!! states Benjamin Zander, the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, in response to making a mistake. I had the amazing pleasure to see Zander speak at the Harvard Medical School Coaching and Leadership Conference recently. We have had several tea discussions about how amazing this conference was and Zander was the shining star. In his above Ted Talks he discusses how he tells his students that they start out with an A at the beginning of his class. An A, his students say???? He states Yes an A. Zander and his ex wife and business partner (yes I did say that correctly:) wrote a book called “The Art of Possibilities” which is about the opportunities for possibility that arise in each moment of the day. I immediately took to him, as did many, because he spoke the language that all perfectionists need to hear. In a nutshell, mistakes are a part of the learning process. You do not ever achieve mastery without making mistakes. Hmmmm I thought therein lies a massive lesson that keeps coming up. Today was one of those days that I needed this lesson, so I decided to go see my friend Google to find it I could get me a little Ben Zander action. Of course, Google came though with flying colors with a winning snapshot of just what I needed.
In the YouTube video above, Zander speaks about the difference between having a vision and having a goal. Goals are things that we work towards; generally with a sense of effort, struggle and judgment. Visions, well they are a totally different thing. They come with hope, ambition and excitement. Goals are often individualistic. Visions are typically more community based. Visions have us spiraling upwards as goals begin to drag us down. Goals have a way of tripping up our vision. Now adays the general energy is about downward spiraling. The sky is falling, the sky is falling says Chicken Little. Oh poor Chicken Little as in the end he found out that the sky never fell. Being a task master can mean that things get done but not always with ease and fluidity. A lot was going to get done today as some would say “come hell or high water” but I did not exactly enjoy it. In fact even the time that I took off was not totally enjoyable as the monkey mind was preoccupied with the tasks that lay ahead. Before I signed off of the tasks for today, I thought “let me get some soup for the soul.” After watching Zander I knew I would rest easier if I shared the good vibes with you all. See for me, the goals are really about the vision. Yes, building a business is about supporting yourself, but for me this business is about sharing it with those I love. Success is no good to me if it doesn’t include being able to spread the joy and love. This is exactly the energy you feel from Zander when you watch him. As I sat in the audience that day, I could feel love exude from him. I felt his love for his students. As his students played, you could also feel their love for him. For Zander, conducting is not merely a job but it is his soul’s purpose. I imagine it would be hard for him to get up everyday without sharing his passion with those around him. I imagine this because this is how I feel.
Zandor speaks about how to begin every day as if you had an A. I wondered as I watched what today would have been like if as I sat down to my computer at 8:30am this morning and started with an A. I can only guess that it would have felt much different. For those of you out there who struggle with being the task master in your life, what would it be like for you to give yourself an A BEFORE you do anything? What might it be like to begin with the possibility of opportunity before you set out on your voyage of daily dos and don’ts? For me, I believe I will start tomorrow with an A and allow for the possibility that I deserve that before I even take the first step out of bed.
Start your day with an A and watch how your day becomes filled with wondrous possibilities. HOW FASCINATING!