During the Summer of ’95, shortly after my father died from inoperable brain tumors, I entered a into a life-state that I like to call, stage 1 homelessness (aka couch surfing). A person afflicted with stage 1 homelessness has no permanent mailing address, no reliable form of income, and often has no reliable transportation. All is not lost, however, because friends are still willing to help out, and there are still favors that have not been called in. I managed this tumultuous time with the help of many friends, one of whom is Dr. Jarred McGinnis. Jarred stopped by a couple of times a week so that we could talk about the stuff of life over a cuppa and a few games of chess. Just two more gen-x coffee house philosophers whiling away the time.
A few months into this routine Jarred and I had an altercation over a girl. It feels like I’m doing my passions an injustice to state it so plainly, but the truth is that simple. It would be more than 17 years before we would reconcile. We have a mutual friend, John, who tried a few times to negotiate the peace between us, but I could not be persuaded. I remember when John told me about the accident that left Jarred confined to a wheelchair. I was conflicted. On the one hand, tragedy often allows people to make amends without the need for specific apologies, so this would be easy. On the other, how does his having an accident excuse any wrongs done to me? I remained steadfast in my anger. At least a decade has passed since that time and I have not thought of Jarred. That is, until today.
John shared a link to Jarred’s TEDx talk on Facebook. Over the next few seconds the voices in my head sounded a bit like: What’s that? I know that guy. Oh, wait, I hate him! But, why? I don’t remember, but I’m sure I have a good reason. Oh, yeah, I remember! Hmmm, I have not cared about that girl for 13 years. This is silly, I should apologize. Shouldn’t I?
Today, I did apologize. Granted, it was a 21st century apology via Facebook chat, but that didn’t cheapen the sentiment for me when he apologized in kind, so all’s good. Now, you ask, how is this related to professional development? We live in an age where our personal and professional overlap in ways not imagined even 10 years ago. Everyone is essentially an entrepreneur. You are branding and selling yourself everyday, whether you acknowledge that on a conscious level or not. I believe integrity goes a long way. I realized today that one of my shortcomings is the tendency to hold grudges. I have addressed that and experienced personal growth as a result. It stands to reason that if you improve yourself as a person, then you have also improved yourself as a professional.
Jarred and I have a lot of catching up to do. Perhaps once I’ve finished my degree I can make my way to London for another game of chess. However, I’m a tea drinker these days.
Jarred’s TEDx talk can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcTM_MrlOR0&feature=plcp