Start Where People Are Not Where You Want Them to Be

My dad was great at so many things, but one thing he wasn’t great at was being a mentor or trainer.  He didn’t have the patience for it, and grossly overestimated the inborn skillset that his children brought to basic mechanical jobs.

His on the job carpentry training looked something like this:  (he was a carpenter early in his life)

Dad:       Trevor, get me that!

Trevor:   What, this?

Dad:       (with scorn) No, not THAT, the other thing!

Trevor:   (tentatively holding up tool, cringing with look of bewilderment) You mean this thing?

Dad:        (now furiously pointing with maniacal glare a la Skipper from Gilligan’s Island) NOOOO!  THE! THING! OVER! THERE!

Trevor:   (holding up yet another wrong thing) You mean this?

Dad:       (now staggered with my level of ignorance and realizing I’m of worse than no use) Here, just take and get out of the way (English was not his first language) and I’ll find it myself!

Trevor:   So I should stand over here then?

Dad:       (with extreme exasperation) GILLIGAN!!!!!

He was always shocked that I wasn’t born knowing how to do basic carpentry.

Today, I find the same recording coming out of my mouth while acting as foreman over any household

jobs that I do with my kids.  I’m especially good at rage cleaning, and often forget my tip for this

morning:

“Start with people where they are, not where you want them to be”

If you’re working with someone new, or someone who needs coaching and mentoring in a task, take a

breath and remember all the hours you had to devote to get where you’re at today.  Exercise some patience,

and become a mentor to someone where they’re at, not where you want them to be.

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