By Samson Umurhurhu

The First Impressions

I watched a musical show where contestants competed to win. A contestant wearing a special hat, and carrying a guitar came before the panel of judges.  A little while into the contestant’s performance, he was stopped prematurely by the judges, who said:

‘You have a beautiful voice being drowned out by bad habits in the ‘name of entertainment’. We want to hear your voice. It also appears your hat does not look t for purpose, for the kind of musician you want to be. Because of your great voice, we will give you a second chance. We think, you do not know who you are yet. Go and consider the feedback we have shared with you, and come back with or without your guitar to do something different which sets you apart’.

”You have a beautiful voice being drowned out by bad habits in the ‘name of entertainment”

The Second Chance

After a while, the contestant returned, and sighting him, one of the judges exclaimed, ‘look who we’ve got’. The contestant walked into the room, without his special hat and guitar. He was asked, ‘what happened to you’. He said, ‘I lost my hat, and put my guitar away’. One of the judges said, ‘I see you have gone through a metamorphosis’. ‘You look new and different’.

The contestant sang the second time; and the judges’ comments were, ‘We really love the brand new you. We now hear your voice, and your image is brilliant.  Your performance is honest, authentic and believable. At last, we have gotten to really know you, and have fallen in love with you’. The judges unanimously voted the contestant for the next stage of the competition, with one judge declaring, ‘I am excited to watch your journey’.

 In response, the contestant said, ‘this is probably one of the few times I have sang without my guitar. It is something I had always wanted to do, but could not. ‘Thank you for encouraging me to look for myself, and not be someone else’.

Benefits of Self-Reflection

The contestant deliberately ‘lost his special hat’, and put away his guitar, because he self-reflected on what he considered to be an honest feedback from the judges, vis-àvis the kind of musician and performer he wanted to become. He was determined, and acted to eliminate whatever stood in the way of his achieving his dreams, despite the discomfort of letting go of what he had been used to (including his hat and guitar).

What a turnaround; a contestant with great qualities and potentials shrouded by distractive trappings. He accepted the challenge to free himself of unnecessary entanglements, renovated himself, and felt liberated to act and move into the future of his dream.

How This Affects Us

Many people cling to the past because they believe their better days are behind them. They also cling to the present believing it’s the best they can have. Often our lives are cluttered with things which drown our strengths and qualities that set us apart, and the clutter may be blind spots to us. e clutter serves as barriers and limitations against our moving forward. Occasionally it will need the support and intervention of those honestly interested in giving us relevant feedback, to create the awareness of these things. Being aware of them, we also need to intentionally move to take the required actions in removing the identified barriers.

There are times I have looked at the mirror, and observed that there was dirt on my face, which none of the people I have been interacting with pointed out to me. Occasionally, people find it difficult to tell us issues that are obviously getting in our way, and which must be corrected or changed. Additionally, habits die hard; they are difficult to change.

We all have our ‘hats and guitars’ which we must lose, or which we must learn how to use in a t for purpose way, enabling us to become the best versions of ourselves. You may have to give up things that hinder, in order to make room to develop those that help and enhance you. Professionals, who want to attain their best, must regularly identify their ‘hats and guitars’. This is why appointing and empowering trusted partners (or even a personal professional coach) as a sounding board and support, can facilitate your life and career progress.

There is Hope

Professionals receive feedback on assignments, quality of work, time management, attitude, skills, relationships and stakeholders’ management amongst others in their interactions at work, and during performance reviews. What is your practice of considering these feedback, and honestly evaluating what you have to give up or correct, in order to gain something more valuable; helping you become whom you want to be?

In order to attain one’s very best, just as there are things to lose in order for you to gain and win, there are also things already working in your favour, that have to be identified for reinforcement and consolidation.

Final Word Change enabling you to move towards whom you want to be is a desirable thing. Such a change is for your good, with lifelong benefits. Expect it, demand it, and embrace it. Become a model professional whose lifestyle involves releasing yourself for the best, in a way, the world becomes excited to watch your journey.

A Chapter Extract from Book by Samson Umurhurhu,
‘Thriving Against The Odds – 15 Ideas For Professionals,
Executives & Leaders To Sustain Advancement’, published

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