The idea was to buy a nice little book for a friend’s child and to support a local business. It was not to impose my life coach self on the guy helping me.
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But nonetheless, that is what I did.
I can’t help myself. I’ve given advice on the fly to my bank teller. To the person who knows my coffee order by heart. To the dude next to me on the plane. I’m not trying to get them to hire me or even like me. The best I can figure out, I just can’t deal with people not using their gifts, especially when their options seem so clear. Not to them, of course, but to me.
While I’m not a fan of most of the Facebook images with cutesy or “profound” quotes on them, one that crossed my path last week resonated in this regard. It was about how we all have gifts, some of us just don’t unwrap them. Yes!
So there I stood in this children’s store, dinosaur book and stickers already purchased from this guy I’ll call Jim, deep in talk about layoffs, traveling Europe and writing. How he’s not currently writing. How his parents discouraged him from majoring in anything writing-related in college and they were paying his tuition, so what could he do? How now he misses it like crazy. How he has stories in his head.
Oh man. Oh man. Oh man.
Where to begin, sir?
You know your gift. That’s a huge start, as many don’t. Seize this thing.
What if he puts his stories down and tries to get them published and no one wants them, he asks. I implore him not to jump to that place. Create them first. Get them out of your head. Carve out time. Make them tangible. Please.
Your story is familiar to me, Jim, I tell him. My clients, especially those in their 40s and 50s, have often taken a track – career, relationship or otherwise – that they felt pressured to take by usually well-meaning people in their lives. Now they want their lives back, at least in some form.
He is listening attentively now. The more Jim’s life story spills out, the more fascinated I become. Trust me, it’s a heck of an interesting one. He’s got natural material, let alone what’s in his fertile imagination. He needs to write it. I want to write it, for goodness sake.
Just a few days before this encounter I had seen Woody Allen’s latest film, To Rome With Love. I don’t know if this actually requires a spoiler alert because I can’t do justice here to all the layers in Allen’s work, but be warned there is some plot revealing happening.
Anyway, Jerry (played by Allen) is an American visiting Rome to meet his daughter’s fiancé. She is marrying an Italian. Jerry overhears his daughter’s future father-in-law, a mortician, singing opera in the shower and he has an amazing voice. At that point, Jerry becomes obsessed to the point of distraction with getting Giancarlo heard in public; he wants him to do something with the voice, share it, make money with it.
But Giancarlo is insecure about it. He says he sings simply for his own pleasure. There is nay saying from his son, who repeatedly asks Jerry to back off. But Jerry can’t. He keeps saying he’s not going to talk about it anymore, but then keeps talking about it. The push-pull there, of course, is the genius of Woody Allen.
I saw myself in Jerry. Part annoying, part endearing. But oh so right.
After all, it’s worth mentioning that Giancarlo is played by Fabio Armiliato, who, according to IMDB, “is one of the most important tenors on the international opera scene, acclaimed for his voice, his high register and connate musicality, his dramatic performances and the charisma which defines his characters.” Suffice to say his voice is mesmerizing, even when he’s intentionally flubbing for a role.
I’ll let you find out what happens to Giancarlo and Jerry in the film.
But I can tell you this. I unabashedly informed Jim that I’ll be checking up on him to see if he’s writing. And I will. I need to witness how his life gradually transforms after he takes the simplest of steps.
I need it like a fix. We all need it, don’t we?
The knowledge that yet another has made it out of existing and into living.
Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is www.nancola.com and you can follow her on Twitter @nancola. Please direct all questions/comments to FOXGamePlan@gmail.com.