In March, two of my grandchildren started taking Tae Kwon Do lessons two hours a week at Iron Fist. They were so excited when they met Master Sonny and were signed up for the lessons. When the uniforms were ordered, they waited with bated breath until they arrived and they received white belts. It didn’t matter to them that the uniforms didn’t quite fit right. They were part of something special and uniquely theirs. The adults in their lives have been relegated to cheerleader and bystander status.
They are learning tools, techniques and skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives. They are learning the tenants of Tae Kwon Do. No just memorizing them, but understanding that they are committing to a lifestyle of perseverance, self-control, courtesy, integrity and indomitable spirit.
- They are learning that there is a place for polite conversation and respect. The “yes, sir” and “no, sire” was a new thing for them. It took me back to my parents and the lessons in manners that we learned and stay with me today.
- They are learning self-control. I can hear Ashleigh as she looks at me and says “focus, grandma.” Out of the mouth of a 4 year old came wisdom that we could all remember in this world of perpetual motion.
- They are learning that learning that nothing good comes easy. You have to work for what you get.
Their first joint objective was to break boards. Both children were sure that they would be able to break boards, more boards and more boards. There would be no limit to the number of boards that they would be able to break. Maybe, a box full of boards would fall under their determined kicks and hits. Their next joint objective was to spar and in some cases with people much taller than them.
The fierce belief in their ability to achieve is reassuring. They were excited and afraid all at the same time. With some encouragement from Master Sonny, Mr. Thomas, and a very nice young lady that was sure Ashleigh would do well, they were into their first competition like the little champions that they are.
If you think back to the first things that you did that scared the b-jeepers out of you, you should remember the feeling of screwing up your courage and taking a leap of faith.
My lesson from my grandchildren (4 and 7) is that “as project managers, we need to take a leap of faith and try things new. Whether it is a new schedule technique, conducting risk sessions, managing changes or communicating bad news to the sponsor, each and every one of us needs to do what is right and protect our team from the front.” Every project manager can learn something from Master Sonny as he works to create a group of people with focus on a common goal. The 5 tenants of the Iron Fist dojang can serve all project managers well. After all, perseverance, self-control, courtesy, integrity and indomitable spirits are all characteristics that a project manager can teach to others.
If a 4-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy can be fearless and work to live these tenants, we can. Take a Leap of Faith. Be Fearless. Do something different today that you have never done before. Do your absolute best every day.