Tom Landry’s definition of coaching: Making men do what they don’t want, so they can become what they want to be.
Frustrated, I sat down on a folding chair in my rented garage space, where there was no air and the summer humidity was brutal. I had woken up with aspirations of performing chalk art so it might inspire people. But each picture I drew just did not look good to me. I was shooting for perfection and forgetting about the process of progress.
I had had no formal art training other than some helpful tips from my brother and some other successful chalk artists. I really felt like I had no clue what I was doing. I would turn on music that would inspire me and draw a picture that I felt might inspire others to see something special in life.
As I wiped the sweat from my forehead, I looked over, and there was a guy standing outside my garage looking in. My rented space, which was really donated space from a friend, was in an auto mall where people got their cars fixed.
“Did you draw that picture?”
I looked up and with no enthusiasm said, “Ummm…yep. I did that.”
He then went on to say, “ I saw you drawing and I gotta tell you, that is really good. My wife loves art. She has been sick for a while…”
He went on to share his story, while looking at my art work. What I saw as junk, he saw as inspiration for his situation. He saw something beautiful in that picture.
The more he talked, the more I began to see what he was seeing. I guess it was not so much the actual art, as what went into the art. I was putting my heart, love and encouragement into each stroke on the canvas.
You could tell a few times he was trying to hold back some tears, which led me to believe that things were a bit tough for him at the time, and he was seeking some inspiration to lighten the load.
I asked him, “Would you like the picture?”
“REALLY?!! How much do you want for it?”
“No cost…it’s a gift.”
I carefully rolled up the artwork that was once considered junk and a source of frustration causing me to want to quit, and I handed it to him. The look on his face showed that I made his day. Little did he know, however, that he made also mine. He helped me see something more than what I was seeing. His story helped me find the courage to not give up!
I can’t say that every picture has been a masterpiece, but every person who watches the art, feels something ….a connection to the inspiration in each person’s life. I can draw a few pictures really well now–14 years later. I love to hear the stories of people who see the art and share how they felt something special inside themselves, making them want to see my not-so-perfect art every day.
Life is a canvas. We paint our destiny with our attitude…so I believe. The color of attitude is in everything we do and are.
The take-away from this story is this…value progress over perfection. If you wait for things to be perfect, things will never get done.
Also, believe in yourself. It’s easy to be your own worst critic and want to compare yourself to others. You are your own, unique person, so believe in your best and keep getting better.
And finally, we all have special talents and gifts. You don’t have to be perfect to start, but you do have to start to be great.