Can You Hear the Music?

Navajo-Medicine-ManCan you hear the music?   This following story was recently shared by Wilford W. Andersen at a church conference and thought it was a powerful metaphor for so many of us living our lives but not hearing the music.

Mr. Andersen stated in part, “Years ago I listened to a radio interview of a young doctor who worked in a hospital in the Navajo Nation. He told of an experience he had one night when an old Native American man with long braided hair came into the emergency room. The young doctor took his clipboard, approached the man, and said, “How can I help you?” The old man looked straight ahead and said nothing. The doctor, feeling somewhat impatient, tried again. “I cannot help you if you don’t speak to me,” he said. “Tell me why you have come to the hospital.”

The old man then looked at him and said, “Do you dance?” As the young doctor pondered the strange question, it occurred to him that perhaps his patient was a tribal medicine man who, according to ancient tribal customs, sought to heal the sick through song and dance rather than through prescribing medication.

“No,” said the doctor, “I don’t dance. Do you dance?” The old man nodded yes. Then the doctor asked, “Could you teach me to dance?” The old man’s response has for many years caused me much reflection. “I can teach you to dance,” he said, “but you have to hear the music.”

After contemplating this story and the old man’s insightful response it occurred to me that many people know how to dance but are not hearing the music.  Have you ever pulled up next to someone in the adjoining car who is rocking out and dancing but you can’t hear the music so it looks awkward and foolish to everyone but the individual who is dancing to the music.

I spent 35 years in a profession that I learned the dance but never heard the music. I believe a lot of people, in fact most people like me, work in professions in which they learned  and some even do well i.e. learned the dance.  For example, I achieved VP and Plant Manager of a fortune five hundred company which most would consider very successful.  Too many people, like me, are in careers that their parents choose, society holds prestigious, and/or one they stumbled onto or just found to be convenient.  Unfortunately, like me, most them can not hear the music.

What is the music?  It is melody in our heart.  It is our passion and love.  However only we can hear the music of our heart and it yearns for us to both hear and dance to our own music.  Our music is the God-given talents and strengths that we have been given.

I found two really simple but powerful proven ways to gain some insight into your talents and character strengths.  The first is by found in the book “Strengths Finder 2.0” by Tom Roth.  The book contains an on-line assessment which upon completion will give you your top five talents which when utilized on a daily basis becomes your strengths.   Having this knowledge then allows to do what you do best every day which energizes and fulfills your life’s purpose. The really cool thing is you don’t have to read the book before taking the assessment.  In fact, I recommend taking the assessment then reading about your top five talents/strengths.  There are thirty-five talents/strengths however the top five are the best indications of what energizes you and allows you the hear the music.

The second is a character strengths survey which is free.  Character strengths are the personality characteristics that make you authentic, unique and feel engaged. Go to and the insightful results will tell you the character strengths in which you are most comfortable in utilizing on a daily basis.

If you are interested in self-discovery and putting yourself on a path of being able to hear the music then take the time to do both.  You are worth the investment and for such a small price in regards to money and time you can begin to dance to your hearts music.  Taking the “Strengths Finder”  assessment put me on a path that changed my life.  I have since taken the character strengths assessment and it gave me even more insight into my personality and how I could benefit even further by using my character strengths on a daily basis.  The two compliment each other wonderfully.

As I was, and unfortunately most people still are, in professions that does not align with the music in their hearts.  Thus they are dancing and if not outwardly, at a minimum inwardly, they feel awkward and foolish because they are essentially dancing without hearing the music. I know because I did not hear the music until I walked away from a six figure position and followed my passion.  We cannot help but be awkward and somewhat foolish in our dance until we hear the music.  However you might not need to change professions but until you are in a working environment which allows you to utilize your strengths/talents on a daily basis then you will never really hear the music.

The music is found in your passion.  Then and only then will our dance and our music by in sync.  The irony is when we are following our passion utilizing our strengths we will not only dance but we will always hear the music which is beautiful to all that have the opportunity to see and hear it. Gather the courage to be able to hear the music and both you and the world will benefit from and celebrate your dance. Though it took some time for me to have the courage to walk a way from what the “world” considers successful I am now hearing the music and my life’s dance could not be better or more fulfilling.

How do we select supervisors?


Companies can ill afford for employees to be leaving because of ineffective supervisors. Think about your methodology for picking supervisors. My experience is that most supervisors are chosen because of their technical skills not their people skills. Unfortunately that is not enough in today’s labor force. For the first time in history we have four generations in the work place. It will take more than just technical skills if your supervisors are going to help ensure your company not only survives but also thrives in today’s global economy. When individuals become a supervisor of people (not technical) this often leaves a huge gap on how and if they can relate to people. Companies continue to promote supervisors that have demonstrated they are willing to work hard and some actually know the business. Then they are turned loose, catapulted if you will into the position to fend for themselves. Then by trial and error, mostly by error, they learn hopefully how to be an excellent supervisor. When they fail and they do often the people who work for them suffer and in turn the business is negatively impacted. The solution, unfortunately for many companies is to terminate the supervisor or worst yet they are promoted and the cycle starts all over again.

As with any random process some good supervisors emerge but for most it ends in disaster and the company wonders why its bottom line continues to trend downward. Continuing to put people in supervisors’ position with no plans to give them the requisite skill set necessary to be successful is like the definition of insanity, “Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.”

Manager or Leader?

We have all heard the different takes on the difference between managers and leaders.  Some like the saying “Managers manage processes, Leaders lead people.”  Some say they are the same. i.e. if you are a manager you are a leader!  Not sure I can agree with that because I have seen a lot of managers that aren’t leaders in fact some are not even good managers.  So my daughter sent me this quote which I have never heard.

“When I talk to managers I get the feeling they are important. When I talk to leaders, I feel like I am important.

That is in my opinion what differentiates real leaders versus managers.  Leaders bring out the best in you.  It is not about them it is about inspiring others to give their best.  Managers lead with what I call title and position. They are always reminding us of their title, position and/or ultimately their power.

I have received some interesting feedback about my last post “Worst Boss Ever” and will be sharing that in the coming days.  If anyone knows the origin of  the statement my daughter sent me please let us know.  Always want to give credit where credit is due.

Dialogue versus only being heard


Have you ever wondered how we get our selves out of the messes we find our selves in both our personnel lives and worldly circumstances? We look for that dynamic leader or sliver bullet (quick seemingly simple answer) that will save the day. However it has been my experience that seldom if ever happens. I am convinced that there is a way to begin finding the answers we are looking for. It begins knowing the difference between having a dialogue and having a discussion. In a discussion everyone is waiting to be heard and thinking only about what they have to say. Dialogue on the other hand, is when we are genuinely interested in the other person’s perspective. We actually suspend our paradigm and begin to entertain the other persons thoughts and ideas. If I ask you if you can improve your IQ many of you would answer yes. Unfortunately we cannot individually increase our IQ, we can only maintain it. The only time we can improve our IQ is when we are in a dialogue with other people. Studies have shown that when a group of people are involved in a dialogue the IQ of the group becomes greater than anyone individual in the group.

The simple answer to some of our personal, work and worldly issues is to learn to have a dialogue with your family, co-workers, and/or world leaders coming together to listen versus only to be heard.


iMavens | Gary Pool
8120 Victory Drive | Amarillo, TX 79119 USA | 1-806-433-5443 |