Dale Carnegie Course Stockton Graduation
Graduations are a time of transition. A point in time when mentors, instructors, and coaches can recognize individuals for making a change in their growth.
A few weeks ago, I held my first graduation of 2017. Recently, I held my second one in Stockton, CA. Once again, I am in awe of the unstoppable power of the human spirit. These graduations show that we have the ability to change our environment when we focus our attention on achieving it.
Throughout these events, I remind myself that our growth is a combination of what we reach for and what we let go of. To paraphrase Don Juan in the Carlos Castaneda books, your greatest gifts will become your greatest hindrance as you grow. You’ll have to let go of the things that once served you, but now are holding you back.
In another Dale Carnegie blog, an analogy of this idea was illustrated using a cup of water. You can’t keep holding on to past behaviors, past memories, and past attitudes that no longer serve you. If these behaviors don’t help you in your new environment, move them aside or let them go. Make room for new and innovative thinking.
In common lore, there’s the story of how to catch monkeys. As the story goes, you put a nut, or some tasty treat into a large container with a narrow opening. You then leave the container tied to the base of a tree where a monkey can find it. The monkey would reach into the container to grab the treat only to find that it couldn’t withdraw its hand. The opening is just big enough for the monkey’s open hand to reach in but not big enough to withdraw his closed fist. The trap, however, is in the monkey’s inability to let go of the treat and withdraw its open hand.
Sometimes, we are like that monkey. We hold on to the beliefs, behaviors, and memories that are familiar to us and make us feel good. However, they don’t serve us in our current environment, don’t allow us to grow, and they keep us tethered to old beliefs.
For instance, I’ve worked with staff members received promotions, but had trouble making the transition to managing a team because they wouldn’t let go of their past relationships with other staff members. I’ve worked with under-performing sales reps who continued to use the same, outmoded sales strategies because those were the ones they learned and they comfortable using them. And I’ve worked with small business people who loved the idea of working on their own projects, but couldn’t quite step outside of the “employee mentality” and become risk takers.
That’s why in the Dale Carnegie program, we acknowledge every small achievement throughout the length of the program. Our participants have to get comfortable with the concept of letting go. They learn that whatever they are holding onto, they can put it down and use a new tool, a new behavior, or a new attitude that is better suited to their situation without losing themselves.
And when we reach graduation, every participant in the program is able to look at what they have accomplished during the length of the course and say to themselves, “Look what I did! What else can I accomplish?”
That is the thrill of graduation. Seeing participants reach that point where they become truly free of programmatic thinking and attain a more expansive view of their future,
My congratulations to this Stockton class of 2017!
Life is truly a wonderful journey. Take control and make it happen!