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  • Writer's pictureTim Skene

Learning to play like yourself - Are you living the life that you were born to live?

Miles Davis once sang this lyric...

“Sometimes it takes a long time to play like yourself”

Your sitting in your office, reflecting on a meeting you’ve just had with your boss, you’re feeling a knot in your stomach, your eyes are burning and your adrenaline is pumping. You’re feeling discouraged and not affirmed by your boss because, although you’ve done some good things with some good results, they’re still not good enough.

You know you shouldn’t be taking this personally but somehow deep down, it still hurts. You get home and some of this stuff seems to spill out onto your wife and the kids. Life has changed in recent years, as the family grows, you know deep down you’d like to spend more time with them. The money your making is good and helps you to sustain the kind of lifestyle that’s good for both you and the family. However, this kind of work is not as fulfilling as it used to be, you’ve become tired and lost some of that freshness and get up and go that you had when you were a bit younger. If you're really honest with yourself, something’s not right. The money is not fulfilling the deeper desires within.

Does something of this resonate with you? A number of the people in management that I have coached have a story that can connect to something in this. I myself identified with much of it for years but never really took the time out to talk to someone about it and to take the necessary action to try and get it resolved.

I watched a story on Netflix this week about a guy called Micheal Bentt, a previous holder of the world heavyweight boxing title. Micheal’s Father had a huge influence in getting him to this place. Unfortunately, it was more about his Father achieving success through Micheal's success. Micheal was not only driven to be a boxing champion he was violently beaten by his Father to get to that place. Micheal never even wanted to be a boxer! After losing his title to a knockout punch by Herbie Hide, Micheal went into a coma and became very close to dying. When he woke, he was told by the physicians that he could never box again. Micheal sees this moment as the breakthrough moment for his life. He then went on to become an actor and director in Hollywood using his background, skills and life experiences to work and connect with others in the film industry.

One of his favorite quotes is from a Miles Davis song: “Sometimes it takes a long time to play like yourself”

It struck me that there are many of us that could sing that same line if we were really honest about what’s really important to us in our own lives.

Another thing that struck me about Micheal's story was his relationship with his Father. His Dad was trying to impose his values upon him and was not connected in his relationship with his son. I’ve reflected recently on my own relationship with my own Dad. My Dad was an easy going, hard working, friendly guy who never beat me physically or verbally but he was absent. That absence has left a big hole that needed a lot of affirmation to replace. This became a driver within me to do well, to be successful, to prove myself, to protect myself, to beat myself up, to burn myself out!

It’s taken me a long time to play like myself. You don’t need to wait until you get that critical punch that takes you out of the ring.

If you’d be interested in having a chat with me, then feel free to contact me. Perhaps we might like to explore what playing like yourself might mean to you.

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