Today I saw a story on the news about a man that is in the Guinness book of records as the oldest practicing barber. The gentleman is currently 107 years old. He said that he has been cutting hair since he was eleven years old. That is 96 years of cutting hair. This is proof that we can have longevity in this industry if we do things the right way. We must hone our skills. One of the definitions of honing is to make more acute or effective; improve; perfect.
I have often heard the saying that practice makes perfect. I tend to disagree with that statement. I believe that perfect practice makes perfect. We can get very good at doing things wrong. This is where honing comes in. We must become more effective. We must seek to improve on a daily basis. As we improve, then we will want to perfect whatever it is that we do. For a long time, this was my problem. I was looking for what it was that i needed to hone, but I was not sure what it was. I was good at a number of things, but I did not feel as if I was just exemplary in any particular portion of my craft. This is what many have called over the years, “ A Jack of all trades & a master of none. I was good at pretty much all of the components of my trade, and I could easily explain what it was that I had learned to someone else. So, even though others had seen this ability in me long before I did, I was unaware of the area in which it was that I excelled. I need to hone my instructional and facilitation skills. This is where I really stood out, but I went about it all the wrong way.
I spent a good portion of my career enhancing the institutions of others. Some early in my career were very instrumental in my development. I would take what they had to present, and add my flavor to their instructional methods. Then I found myself in the corporate grind that began to deteriorate my drive. It was more about the money than it was about the understanding. There was a lot of internal conflict with following procedure versus really teaching the intricate details of the industry that I love so much. This really caused a strain me. Especially when dealing with supervisors that had no true knowledge of the actual technical and soft skills needed to truly help the masses to excel. Not everyone learns and understands the same, and a production line form of disseminating information is not good for the overall benefit of those involved in implementing their learned skills into action. Then I realized that these facilitation skills can be used in a myriad of arenas. I had to get away from those other entities to get back to my real appreciation of the need for detailed instruction. Now I no longer have to compromise the real mission and values to achieve the desired results. This is where each of us need to find ourselves. We must define ourselves for ourself. If we do not, then we will find ourselves consumed with the expectations of others for us.