This week, I have a fable to share:
The pencil-maker took the pencil aside, just before putting it into the box.
“There are five things you need to know before I send you out into the
world,” he said. “Always remember these five things, and you’ll be a great
“One: You are capable of many great things, but only if you allow yourself
to be held in someone’s hand.
“Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but you’ll
need it to become a better pencil.
“Three: You have the ability to correct the mistakes you make.
“Four: The most important part of you will always be what’s inside.
“And Five: On every surface where you are used, regardless of its condition,
you must leave your mark.”
I could write a complete MMS on each one of the Pencil-Maker’s points, but I chose the final one, Leaving Your Mark, because I’ve recently encountered two professionals on both sides of this equation.
One trudges through her day with the feeling that everyone on the team is against her and that they play favorites with the other assistant. She believes she’s spent a lot of money to go to school for a basically “dead-end” job. The other, in the same position, is cheerful and kind even to her sometimes cranky co-workers, is focused on her patients’ comfort and interested in their stories and lives. The first one only wants to know if she’ll be paid for the time spent in training with me and how on earth she will be able to get her work caught up after “so many hours of downtime.”
The other one tells me how much she looks forward to our trainings, how she recognizes that so much of what we learn are ‘life principles’ as well as business principles. She shares how she often goes home and shares them with her family over dinner. She comments how grateful she is that her doctor provides this information free to her—something that will ultimately advance her career in some way in the future.
The Pencil-Maker said it. You must leave your mark on every surface, regardless of its condition. We should not wait for circumstances to be to our liking before we actually “show up.” We create our own reality.
This week, bring kindness where there is none. Bring patience where there is none. Bring forgiveness, hope, and optimism. Be a bright light in a dark room. And aim that light at your patients, clients, co-workers, and boss… instead of on yourself.
Don’t do it for them. Do it for you. This is the stuff great careers and lives are made of… Leave your mark and make it a really good one.
“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the economy, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”
~ Albert Ellis