Thanks for the attention you pay to me, here. And I hope you’ll find some
fresh inspiration at my author site: maryanneradmacher.net
I’ve put into practice the “what if i pretended this was easy?” question and have grown
increasingly comfortable building and rebuilding my own web center.
I’m introducing an original series of posters called “Silver and Gold.” When you have a
few minutes, please spin by and thumb through my pages!
I used to write at a local coffee establishment. “The Beanery.” They were mad for coffee and the bulk of the baristas were passionate about all things coffee. There was a way to tell: their passion translated into the perfect cup of coffee. Or, it didn’t. The butterscotch colored froth on top that announced a perfectly brewed cup of espresso was the first indicator of excellence. Taste followed. There were days that I consumed a beverage of less than stellar quality. And some few days I asked them to “try again.”
You may be familiar with one of my poems,
“courage doesn’t always roar. sometimes courage
is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,
‘i will try again tomorrow.’”
It is one kind of matter to personally decide to try again. It’s all about personal accountability and a dedication to giving something a fresh shot in the invigorating light of a new day.
It’s another matter to ask someone else to try again. Another matter entirely. There are all kinds of issues rolled into this – it’s the reason why people will endure one of the worst meals they’ve ever been served and vow to never again frequent that particular establishment.
Whether it is personal or public, the chance to “try again” is an opportunity. When an eatery is consistently not getting something right and no one says anything…how do they know? Absent honest feed back a restaurant learns too late the areas they need to improve. Business rolls back and they end up closing their doors.
On the rare occasion when I would trundle back to the coffee counter and gently announce, “I know how you feel about your coffee so I thought I’d better tell you this one was not quite right.” In all instances that I can remember, they were so appreciative. Asked me for more information and conducted a staff process assessment right in front of me. I watched as the discovery unfolded: a missed step, a piece of equipment not quite tightened. Fortunately for me, their objectives matched mine – we all wanted the end result to be an ideal cup of coffee. Not a pretty good cup, or a “close enough” cup – but as close to perfect as we humans get to come in such things.
There’s a very tentative line between going with the flow and simply tolerating something. I understand the line for me and this is what it looks line. I would not ask a barista to “try again” if I were served a wretched cup of coffee while traveling and having discovered a coffee bar out in the middle of between here and there. Nor would I send food back to the kitchen in such an establishment. I do not know them. I’m not vested in their process or success and I know that, like me, travelers don’t come specifically to a place like this, they stop here on their way to somewhere else. In that context, “good enough” is indeed good enough. In instances like these I go with the flow. Accept what comes and call it good. Enough.
Tolerance. Or in this line drawing, intolerance. I speak up when the consequences matter to me. When I know the owners and want them to have continued success. I share my experience when I know the objective and goals of the establishment.
The request to “try again” works for me when core values are shared. When there is a mutual view. In this context the request in an invitation to greater performance.
When core values are not shared the request becomes a judgment and often the beginning of a disagreeable exchange. Even disintegrating into an argument. Often this type of exchange ends with, “I was only trying to help,” and hurt feelings on both sides of a counter.
So this morning as I am again enjoying the environment of a coffee house committed to excellence I remember this lesson. In reflecting I realize this is an effective measure for many different relationships. In a friendship, when the foundational intentions are shared – such exchanges become opportunities for shared growth. In associations where the core intentions are dramatically different – such a request becomes fodder for a fight.
I sip my delicious cup of java, put down my fork next to a delectable gluten-free scone which I’ve nearly finished and am grateful that I have opportunities in my day, in many venues, to “try again.”
– mary anne radmacher’s poem, “courage doesn’t always roar” is included in the Oxford Dictionary of American quotations and finds uses around the globe. It is the title of two books and is quoted in dozens of other publications. Visit her facebook space – facebook.com/couragedoesn’talwaysroar.
I listened to my friend as she railed. Complained. Yes – whined. And expressed anger at the utter unfairness of it all. What was she talking about? The Weather. It’s backwards! It’s all wrong! It’s not fair!
Across the world people are encountering weather patterns way off the grid of what is regionally normal. Here in the pacific northwest we are used to our hot august days. As I write this I see dried, fallen leaves scattering the ground. The trees are responding the their natural patterns and everything in their experience is telling them it’s October, not August. So they are already dropping their leaves. The farmer’s at the market are financially impacted and puzzled. Their growing season plans are now thwarted the second year in a row. They apologize for the “unseasonable” produce that is available and yes, they complain.
Me? I’ll admit a fondness for complaining as well. Yes, Indeed. Just this morning I was complaining that a favorite friend of mine who is a principal of a grade school has to take money from her personal household savings account to pay for personal development materials for her teachers. No money for skill enhancement for her teachers. And if she wants to encourage, support, uplift or inspire her staff in any way – the resources come from her own pocket. Nothing in the budget for such things. The weather? I rarely complain about the weather. Honest. Hardly ever. Principals who don’t have the resources to support their staff facing increasing cuts to an already slim budget. THAT I complain about. And I try to follow this guidline: If I invest my energy in a complaint and I ask someone in my field of view to LISTEN to what I’m complaining about – I have to partner the complaint with a positive action. So I am going to tell you this: In addition to the support material which this principal has paid me as a working artist to make for her – I am giving her enough cards to send to each of her teachers once a month for the school year, a gift for each teacher at their birthday and some odd little reinforcement gifts. This is material I have that I will give to her absent a line item in her budget to allow for the graces that make the arduous work of teaching a little sweeter.
Have you complained recently about the educational budget crisis? Have you thanked a teacher lately?
Have you complained about the weather? Ah, my reader-friend, if you are one whose home has been washed away or blown away – that is indeed worthy of the energy of a complaint. If you are too hot or too cold – consider the grace that you have to address the condition with right clothing and electronic support (A/c or heaters)! And focus your view on things that you can actually DO something about.
The weather may be backwards where you are but your point of view can be put on straight ways.