We can learn from any situation. We can grow even if we are old and stuck in our ways. We can be re-inspired given the right set of circumstances even if our days sometimes feel grudging familiar.
I enjoyed being re-inspired to ride through my friend, Jo Ann. She is doing lessons each week (usually on one of my horses) but this was a difficult trip back for her after injuries and illness. While she has fought a lot of demons this year, she keeps coming back to her time in the saddle.
I also was inspired in an unusual way at work. I had a new employee that was coming to work with me this last summer. He was coming back to our company from a competitor. But he was a little legendary in the path he had made when he had worked here previously. I knew he was smart, perhaps brilliant. I knew he was a hard-worker. I knew work was his life.
I was scared. I appreciate my job. I try my hardest to do my best at my work. But I leave (most days) with a clear head looking forward to the evening or weekend ahead at the farm.
Then Alfonso came. I was afraid he would be a sour academic with little time or thought for anything other than work. I knew he spoke six languages and that English was not his first. And then of course, there was the age thing. He was in his late 20’s. Certainly not an age (especially with guys) that I have a lot of knowledge of or much in common with. He had no knowledge of horses, dogs or cats although he said he once rode a pony in Venezuela. What we were going to talk about with one another?
I was right about the smart thing. He is smart. As I said, perhaps brilliant. But as these first 90 days have passed, I learned he was more than that. We work in a small work space. We somehow got delegated to the smallest cubicles in the company. Mine is maybe four feet by five feet. There are six of these in a tight space. Like it or not, you get to know you cube mates pretty well.
In the past 90 days, I went from having a pretty anonymous position, sitting at my desk for hours at a time without a soul coming by and quietly floating through the company without rippling the surfaces to having interruptions at least every 10-15 minutes as my new colleague wants to ask me something, get my feedback or just show me what he is working on. I might be a little ADD and sometimes it is hard for me to get back on task after these breaks in my concentration but I always learn something.
All of this I kind of expected when I learned Alfonso was going to join me in my group. What I did not know or expect was his quick sense of humor. There are times we get to laughing so hard, heads go down on the desk. No, I didn’t expect that from this human think tank. He sent me an old SNL skit on Toonces the Driving Cat. Later at the barn, everyone from Kendyll to the teenagers were laughing at the silly skit. Toonces happens to look just like my cat, Levi. Like I said, not what I expected.
Also, many days Alfonso brings some type of homemade organic goodie. Like hummus and freshly baked bread. Or popcorn cooked on the stove not in a microwave. He even insisted on bringing his own lunch when we headed to Bartlesville, Oklahoma on business a few weeks ago. Imagine the laughter as his organic cherry tomatoes spilled out on the conveyor belt of the X-ray machine at the airport. Wow. You do not see that every day.
But what I also did not expect that he would do, just through his own nature and habits, was inspire me to work harder. When we discuss something I am working on, he questions me (and he is always annoyingly right unless I can get the topic off on horses or dogs) and I dig deeper to find the answers. I can say without question that I have learned more in the last 90 days about more subjects than I have in years. I have been inspired to want to learn more. That is not an easy leap for someone headed toward sixty and pretty content in her ways.
Before this rocks off to something bordering on adulation, I with just conclude with an observation. If we are open to seeing inspiration it is all around us. From my older friend Jo Ann that I watched overcome her fears to ride again to young Alfonso that brought intelligence, but also passion for his work, I learned and I stepped up.
Now, I am riding more, riding harder and riding faster-thanks to Jo Ann. Work is more engaging, stimulating and a place I want to be because Alfonso brought learning back to me.
Find someone who inspires you. These people are all around you. Watch them. Engage them. Copy them. Life is better for them.
My friend Jo Ann goes back to jump more medical obstacles today. Say a prayer for her and her recovery. She is one of the good ones.
Thanks for riding along!