Recently, I was helping my daughter prepare for a fine arts competition. She entered the competition in 6 individual categories. We have known about the competition for several months and I began telling her months ago to begin working on her entries (drama, vocal solo, art, etc.). My thought was you have 5 or 6 months to work on them so you can be finished at least a month before the competition and avoid the unnecessary stress. Of course, she is a procrastinator and waits until the last minute before completing major projects. After many reminders and finally “making” her prepare for the competition, she got them all completed a few days before the event.
She ended up placing high enough in five of the six categories to advance to nationals and even won first place in the state for poetry. We were excited and elated at her placings. Then, I began to remember all the reminders of “you need to start working on that”… However, she chose to march to the beat of her own drum. But it worked for her.
It reminded me that we can want others to do things a certain way because it appears to us that that particular way is the best way or the only way. But we must remember, we are all unique and function differently. What works for me in preparing for a competition or major project may not work for my daughter. I do NOT ever procrastinate, and I like to work months ahead. However, one way is not necessarily better than the other way. It simply depends on how we are wired. (Disclaimer: since my daughter is still growing and developing, I allow her some freedom to choose how she wants to work but there are times when I step in and let her know what she needs to do.)
In working with others, whether in parenting or working on a team at work or on a church committee, keep in mind that everyone is not like you. Everyone is different and we should appreciate those differences. We should allow others space to do things their way. Forcing others to fit into our mold usually does not have good results. March to the beat of your own drum and allow others to do the same.
~Coletta Jones Patterson
*Coletta is an author, business executive, life/business coach and speaker who is passionate about helping others go beyond stuck. Her latest book, “Beyond Stuck: Creating the Life You Want” is available on Amazon.com. Connect with Coletta at firstname.lastname@example.org.