professional

Thanks for the learnings

Thanks for the learnings

October 20, 2020
/ / /

The bottom line:
No matter who I come across, whether a professional or a hack, there’s an opportunity to learn. Being conscious of this, and expressing gratitude for the possible learning, might help me stop judging the hacks I meet. 

I am enamored with professionals.
The way T asked me a gazillion questions during our Zoom-call the other week, question after relevant question, trying to tease out of me what it is I envision for tankespjärn. What a pro! She’s done this many times, that much is apparent, but sometimes that actually turns into a disadvantage, if it also means you go through the motions rather than actually still engage, fully, with the process.

Needless to say, T engaged fully, as the pro she is.
I was quite impressed by myself as well, able to reply to almost all of the questions, something I would only have been able to do half-assed six months ago, and basically not at all a year ago. The idea and vision I have for tankespjärn is getting clearer and clearer, that much is apparent, and a result of letting things take the time they need. The value of not rushing things is obvious to me, it’s something I truly believe in, and at the same time, it’s not always easy to live by.

However.
When I am met by someone who is supposedly a professional, a hack who doesn’t even go through the motion of pretending to do his/her work properly, cutting corners to the extent that the end result will be far from the agreed-upon, that I do not like. And even worse, I have very little patience with it. This is one of my remaining Achilles heels, where I can get very judgmental and with that, possibly a bit mean as well?!

I am not proud of that.

I do try to conduct myself in such a way that my professionalism is not compromised, biting my tongue to stop from blurting out any one of a number of thoughts running through my head…
Come on, do the work I’ve paid you to do!
Are you insane, how on earth…?
For crying out loud, snap to attention!

Instead, I clarify, when clarification is needed.
I explain, when understanding is lacking.
I point to reference documents, refer to praxis, ask for clarification, as appropriate.
Do my best, to help the process along, but inside… it’s hard not to get resentful. People who so clearly are done, spent, should not do what they do anymore. Or even don’t want to be and do what they are being and doing. As if serving the final years of a prison sentence, biding their time, before escaping, released from their responsibilities, their position, their work.

Possibly… what triggers me is my fear of becoming like that?
Or the discomfort I receive when picking up on the energy exuded?
Whatever it is, there’s both a physical and a mental rejection within me, informing me this is not a road I want to head down. Quite the opposite.

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
This gives me a choice.
If I don’t find it worth doing, either I get to find something else to do, or I get to shift my approach, to find the worth of doing within me.

Easier said than done?
Sure.
But that’s life, isn’t it?
And I for one would not want a life of easy, honestly.
I want to butt up against the edges of my capacity, my capability, my comfort.

Perhaps that’s why, now and again, I come across a full-fledged professional, right after having met a hack? Both of them challenge me. Both of them have me up against the edges of my capacity, capability, comfort zone. In totally different ways, but still. I learn and grow from the experience.

What if, from now on, when I come across the pro, I say thanks for the learnings?
What if, from now on, when I come across the hack, I say thanks for the learnings?
Might that make it easier for me to refrain from the judgment? Worth a try!


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
Read More

Something other

April 26, 2020
/ / /

In twenty minutes, we had it together.
The outline of it at least.

What?, you ask, slightly confused.

Well.
A webinar that me and a few of my friends are putting together in a few weeks time. An event normally run live in May that we are turning digital, for obvious reasons. We started off thinking we’d simply run last year’s presentation slightly tweaked… but when we looked at it, we realized that Nah, that won’t do.

Doing things online instead of in the flesh, requires something else, something other.

So I asked for pen and paper, we gathered around the kitchen counter, and in twenty minutes, we had a plan of who’s doing what when, and how to turn this event into something other, just like we wanted to. 

Now, I don’t know about you, but surrounding myself with people like these, enriches my life beyond belief. This is a group of skilled, professional, warm, generous, smart and fun people, and I love having them in my circle of influence. Who’s in yours?

Read More

Clapton’s guitar – watching Wayne Henderson build the perfect instrument (book 7 of 12)

July 28, 2019
/ /
in Tip
/

In 2015 I listened to a riff from Jonathan Fields on Good Life Project, telling a tale about one of Eric Clapton’s guitars. It must have stuck with me (things have a habit to do just that), because when I stumbled upon a book entitled Clapton’s guitar – watching Wayne Henderson build the perfect instrument, by Allen St. John, in a thrift shop in Karlskrona in 2018, I bought it. And now, in 2019, I’ve read it. And what a read it’s been!

There’s this one thing that fascinates me. Professionals. It doesn’t really matter what the profession is, but someone who’s a pro just gets me going. I’ve blogged (and vlogged) about a few of them; massage therapists, physiotherapists and chiropractors, train conductors and smartphone salesmen.

This book. It’s about a pro. Or rather, about pros. Not just the one. There are many a professional featured in this book, but more than anything, it’s about Wayne Henderson, a master acoustic guitar builder. A luthier.

“[…] Wayne Henderson is a genius. His brand of genius harks back to the word’s unsullied origins: the Roman term for ‘begetter’. In the days of Ceasar, a genius wasn’t something you were, it was something you had. A genius was a vaguely protective being like a guardian angel, but most of all this Roman version of a genius was a maker, a conjurer, a genie, who could create very real things out of thin air. And in that old-school sense of the word, Wayne Henderson has a certain genius, an ancient forest nymph that sits on his shoulders and whispers directions every time he picks up a piece of wood.”

And I love it. What a joy, a thrill, a treat, to read this book! I don’t understand the half of it, now and again, when it comes to the technical terms for all of the parts and steps that make up building a handcrafted acoustic guitar but it simply doesn’t matter. I am enraptured anyway.

“Every guitar has its own voice, an individual timbre that’s as distinctive as a human voice – there’s no doubt that some techie could program voice recognition software to respond to the idiosyncratic strum of a particular guitar. Where does this voice come from? In a way, it comes from God or Mother Nature or whatever name you choose to apply to those things we can’t quite fathom and can’t quite control.”

Part of what makes this book such a delight to read are the many characters that congregate in Hendersons guitar work shop. Allen St. John paints their portraits beautifully, and except for the lack of smells from working pieces of wood, I feel as if I am perched on a stool in that workshop, watching skilled hands do their thing, all the while the gentle banter flows back and forth, as jokes and stories are being told.

“‘Number 1 is the state of mind of the person building the guitar’.
I was stunned.
In a single sentence, he [T.J. Thompson] had articulated the hypothesis I had been gradually creeping toward. An instrument is the sum total of not only the builder’s experience, but his experiences. You need to be a good man to build a good guitar. 

[…]

‘When people ask me how to build a better guitar, I always think and sometimes say, ‘Be a better person.’ You can’t keep your personality out of the work. It’s impossible.'”

Those paragraphs from pages 224 and 225 (of my hardcover edition from free press) are part of the insight that Jonathan Field riffed about, and when I read it, I remembered that I had actually blogged about this specific thing. Something with it resonated with me, and I think, perhaps, because I’d like for it to be universally true. I am not sure it is, but I would sure like for it to be!


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2019, to read and blog about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, one every other week, books that I already own.

Read More