My Grandmother grew up as a sharecropper’s daughter on the West Coast, moving from farm to farm wherever hired hands were needed. With grit and perseverance that matched her fiery, tousled locks, she pulled herself up from her roots, graduating from college with a degree in education.
She was always trying something new, insatiably curious and intelligent, though her career as a teacher was undeniably, well, lackluster. However, she reared four amazingly gritty, intelligent children who multiplied that influence with large families. To date they’ve reared dozens of doctors, musicians, entrepreneurs, and skilled artisans. She certainly left her mark on my life!
“Learning a new skill is never a waste of time, Julie!” The gusto in Grandma’s tone made her voice tremble.”You never know when that skill will come in handy.” She may have been referring to my efforts at piano or perhaps to my budding sewing abilities at the time. Her underlying message came through loud and clear — no slackers in this family!
She and Michelangelo had this in common, according to Jeff Goins, author of Real Artists Don’t Starve. Always be learning something new. Michelangelo segued from sculpting abilities into architecture and engineering. As Goins puts it, “One skill sets into motion the need for another.”
Which is why as a business blogger and writer, I’ve been challenged to continually learn about sales and marketing. Words like sales funnels and target market were formerly bridges into unknown territory for me. I had to embark on a new learning adventure.
Here’s what I discovered. Warm, friendly words that sell helpful products and services benefit both the target audience and the professional service providers. My tools are the 26 letters of the English alphabet.
Now I’m learning to keep my ear to the ground as to what works best on which social media platform.
In this rapidly morphing world of tech and marketing, however, some basic skills and values never go out of style. Treat your clients the way you want to be treated. Always show up when promised. Do your best!
What about those piano and sewing skills? I shake my head when I think about it. Handmade wedding gifts, dresses for my only daughter, and tons of mended clothes later — yep, that’s a skill well worth the time.
Teaching private piano lessons has unbelievably paid over half of our bills for the past dozen years. Who would’ve guessed? Plus, I’ve had the sheer delight of investing in a future generation of musical literacy.
In a few of my students, I’ve seen that inner spark ignite. I sit in awe as beautiful music flows from their fingertips. Who knows? I may have had a hand in molding a future Great Artist. The thought gives me goosebumps.
Meanwhile, as I keep building my own skill sets, I’m in search of my own inner Michelangelo. Thanks, Grandma, for your example of grit that never quit.