Saturday, January 24, 2009

Why You Need a Coach - Or, "What I learned from my first week of contacts"

Well, it has been a week of learning experiences. First time I've ever tried contact lenses. Here is a summary of what I learned: about me and about life.

Day 1- Friday: My "Contact Coach" aka the lady at the eye Dr.'s office, while watching me attempt to put the contacts in my eye for the first time, said "you're blinking." Well, duh.
     For over four decades, I have embraced the maxim "don't run with a stick or you'll poke your eye out." Notwithstanding the fact that you won't really poke your eye out - you might poke it IN, but not OUT - I have trained my eye that when fingers approach, CLOSE IMMEDIATELY. So, yes, I was blinking.

Day 2 - Saturday: Attempting to put the contact lens in my eye this morning, it strikes me that it is difficult to see this small, round, transparent object without having the small, round, transparent object actually in my eye so that I can see small, round, transparent objects. What's wrong with this picture?
     Ok, put on glasses, position lens, take glasses off, attempt to insert... oops, dropped it, find glasses, put them back on, find lens and repeat, skipping the "oops" step.

Day 3 - Sunday: Applying the "better living through modern chemistry" approach, I take a dose of antihistamine when I get up. It doesn't make the lens go in any easier, but it does cut down on the sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes.

Day 4 - Monday: Tried at home for 20 minutes to get the lens in with no success. Packed the stuff up so I wouldn't be late for a breakfast appointment. Ordered by memory since I couldn't read the menu. Arrived at the office. Tried for 20 more minutes without success. Frustration level mounts. I pack the stuff up again and drive to see my "Contact Coach."
     When I walk into the office, the coach says perkily, "Hi, may I help you?" Without pausing in my stride, I say, "Yes, you can. You can come over here to this table, watch me poke my eye IN, and tell me what I am doing WRONG! Please."
     She did. Thankfully. I think I was afraid I was going to break them.  "No, they're very durable," my Coach assured me.

Day 5 - Tuesday: Success at last. I got them in my eyes in under seven minutes.

Day 6 - Wednesday: Yesterday was a fluke. After 15 minutes, I packed things up in a hurry to get out of the door. When I get to the office, I open the case to try again. I realize that when you don't take the time to get the lens all the way into the case, floating in the solution, when you screw the cap down, you can slice that little sucker right in two. Durable, indeed.
     Back to the Contact Coach. I showed her what happened. She rolled her eyes. I prayed her contact would pop out.

Day 7 - Thursday: Whoa! Driving 3 1/2 hours with mono-vision contacts. Now that's a hoot. But I made it without running over anybody or anything.

Day 8 - Friday: There is hope. I got them in and had the best day yet.

Day 9 - Today: It's my off day. I'm glad I kept my glasses! :)

Seriously, I have come to appreciate my Contact Coach. I have come to admit that I'm much more comfortable coaching others than I am in receiving coaching myself. Why? Because I have to admit my inability to perform. But, leaders are learners, so I've been reminded of the value of a coach.

For the notepad - You need a coach because:
  • A coach can change your perspective. Coaches see things you cannot see. When you know what to look for, you can see things differently, so your perspective on your position changes. It is important for leaders to see from the proper perspective.
  • A coach can improve you performance. There is no doubt that my coach has helped me be able to get these lenses in more quickly and with less trauma to my eye and my attitude. Who knows. Maybe I'll actually decide to keep them.
  • A coach can increase your potential. With practice, we can all be better at what we do. And with improved skill, we can be more successful at other things as well. I'm learning to be more patient. I'm learning to control my frustration. And that gives me more potential to work patiently and calmly in other settings as well.
In Acts 9:22, Luke writes that "Saul grew more capable." In context, he was spending time with Ananias and other disciples in Damascus. Luke doesn't say it explicitly, but I believe that Saul was being coached. People around him watched him, listened to him and then helped him with his perspective, improved his performance, and increased his potential.

Want to grow more capable? Get a coach. SEE you later! When I get my lenses in...

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