When I was in elementary school, I generally received good reports from my teachers. However, one thing that came up time, and time again was a comment by almost all of my teachers: “Ivan “talks too much in class.”
My mother had numerous conversations with me about this, but to no avail. I figure that she thought my grades were pretty good and she generally liked to pick and choose her battles on issues. Consequently, she didn’t really push the matter, and so… I talked and talked and talked in class. It showed up on many of my report cards. My teachers felt that it was a problem for me in school. My mother, on the other hand, didn’t give me much grief on the subject.
While the teachers definitely felt that it was a roadblock to my learning, I think they may have been wrong on that. What my teachers saw as a problem ended up becoming an incredible asset. I talk. I talk a lot. I talk to individuals, small groups, middle size groups, large groups, and massive groups. Any way you cut it – I’m a talker. My job today is to talk to people. In fact, I get paid to talk. I get paid a crazy number to talk to companies, associations, and organizations. I love to share ideas with people, I love to coach people, and most of all I love to inspire people. And to do that – I talk.
Over the years, I’ve learned that often times, “what is in the way, becomes the way.” My talking too much in class was thought of as a roadblock by my teachers. Candidly, at one point, they almost had me convinced that it was a problem. My mother – well, not so much. She didn’t see my talking as such a big issue, and that gave me the freedom to be myself. True, I had to tone it down a bit – but it wasn’t drummed out of me. I am grateful for that because, despite the fact that some people thought that talking was blocking my way, the truth is – it would eventually become “the way” for my life.
In 1985, I had a massive thing in my way. I lost a client and could hardly pay the mortgage on my new home. That was a pretty big thing for me to have in my way. I desperately needed more business so I started a small referral group to help my friends and to help myself generate referrals in a structured way. The solution to the problem that was in my way ended up becoming a global enterprise with thousands of groups in dozens of countries around the world called BNI.
Successful people understand that many times, “what is in the way, becomes the way.” The key is to channel your efforts to focus on the roadblock and make it an overpass.
Some of us do this unconsciously. However, imagine how impactful this paradigm could be if we were more conscious of it at work in our lives. I would encourage you to take a moment to think about something you were told was “in the way” as part of your life? Has it “become the way” for you and if so, how? For me – one of the first things in my life that was in the way was that I talked too much in class. Looking back, I’d have to say it worked out pretty well.