Posts Tagged ‘golden’

If you kill the Golden Goose, this will….

June 1, 2010

Here’s a note I received this week from someone who wants to be a coach.

”Dan –With the poverty of the USA my spirit doesn’t feel right charging the poor that need help for coaching them in the right direction. Out of the love in my heart for others and their burdens I cannot see putting a boundary up (money) for what I know can help them.”

Coaching is a helping service – as I hope whatever you are doing in work is a helping service.  Coaching is not unique in being the only way to help others.  So we could substitute anything you do in the following sentence:

”With the poverty of the USA my spirit doesn’t feel right charging the poor that need help”

  • making their house payment
  • getting groceries
  • having dental work
  • fixing a plumping problem
  • repairing their car
  • preparing their taxes
  • getting legal help
  • having competent daycare
  • knowing how to get a job
  • keeping their yard trimmed or
  • having access to great books

I too have a heart for the downtrodden.  I allow 10% of my time for humanitarian and ministry needs.  That allows me to address those needs and still provide for my family.  But I couldn’t spend 90% of my time helping the poor – I’d simply become one of them and deplete my ability to help.  It’s impossible to give when your own cup is empty.  A sincere desire to help and serve can kill the golden goose just as much as raw greed.

Michael Phelps — Golden Child?

August 18, 2008

Michael Phelps made history over the weekend.  The 23-yr-old from Baltimore now has 8 gold medals from the Beijing Olympics.  So is this guy a golden child, raised in an ideal life with every advantage coming his way?  It doesn’t appear to be so.  As a little boy Michael was diagnosed with ADHD.  He started swimming at age 7 to have an outlet for his excess energy.  When he was 9 his parents divorced.  At 19 he was arrested for driving under the influence.  He has “attended” college between 2004 and 2008 but doesn’t plan to graduate anytime soon.  His friends call him “Gomer” because of his resemblance to the good-natured country boy played by Jim Nabors.  He eats around 12,000 calories a day (about five times more than the average adult male) to keep up with his amazing level of activity.  He’s already been making approximately $5 million per year in endorsements, and the 8 gold medals have earned him a $1 million bonus from his sponsor, Speedo.  

So what are you doing with your “challenges?”  Are you using them as an excuse to justify mediocrity?  Or are you, like Michael, focusing your uniqueness in a positive direction.  Do you have a diagnosed malady?  Were your parents divorced or did you get into trouble in your teenage years?  Maybe having “challenges” is a strong motivator for doing something extraordinary.  And maybe having things too easy makes coasting too attractive.  Remember the caterpillar’s transition to a butterfly. It’s the struggle that causes those beautiful wings to appear.  Maybe your “disadvantages” are your opportunity to find a more authentic path to success.

It’s typically the challenges that help us find our true calling.  Henry David Thoreau said: “I see young men, my townsmen, whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms, houses, barns, cattle, and farming tools; for these are more easily acquired than got rid of. Better if they had been born in the open pasture and suckled by a wolf, that they might have seen with clearer eyes what field they were called to labor in.”

Frequently I see that those who have been given advantages early in life find themselves with a strong sense of being off track in their forties or fifties. I have a friend who, while a gifted singer and performer, has never developed these or any other talents as he is too busy protecting the money he inherited from his father.  A current client was given the best education money could buy, including medical school, and now, at age fifty-two, realizes he has never pursued his real calling. The search for authentic work is a very personalized and internal one and can easily be derailed by too many advantages. The best medical, dental, or law school will never provide a fulfilling career path if that path is not a match with the unique gifts of the person involved. Just as you shouldn’t let a lack of money deter you from pursuing a great opportunity now, don’t let money or circumstances you already have keep you from moving toward your passion.

Incidentally, I have to also add that in addition to his goal-setting and amazing focus, Michael Phelps is described by the Baltimore Sun as “a man incredibly invested in the success of the people he cares about.”  They go on to say he’s “unbelievably kind-hearted” with young children after practices and events.  I suspect that even at age 23 he remembers the painful challenges of his own childhood.