One of my favorite spots is our downtown Coffee shop. As a coffee lover, a latte is my favorite drink. My coffee has to have the right aroma and right taste, and I know that in this coffee shop, no matter who makes my coffee it will taste the same.
A few days ago when I entered the coffee shop, I was surprised to see my kids’ Taekwondo teacher assistant, or as they call it: The Master’s Assistant. When he saw me entering the coffee shop, he stood up and bowed toward me.
When my three kids joined the Taekwondo studio the Master taught us, the parents and the kids, that when we all enter the studio, we bow, when the kids go on the mattress or off the mattress, they bow. When the Master and other instructors hand you something you bow, and when you hand something to the Master he bows.
When you bow, it signifies not only respect for your Master and classmates but respect for yourself, for the art of Taekwondo and your life in general. It is a universal gesture that signifies respect and appreciation. It is as they say without words: “I see you.”
When my teenage kids came for the free trial lesson, I could see something in their eyes and stance that I haven’t seen for a while. The Master was able to ask for respect and discipline from the students, but at the same time, he also showed respect for each student.
As you know, this is an experience that teenage kids don’t always have. I believe that most of the time when you enter teenage phase two things happen at the same time; While observing the world and the adults they are trying to understand what’s good/right and what’s bad/wrong and with those categories, they observe the adults and the world as a whole. It feels at time as they have much judgment regarding the way adults behave. They are watching closely to see if the adults are walking their talk in alignment with what they expect from the kids.
That day, when my kids took the trial class, I could see that because the Master’s respected all students and at the same time almost demand respect, they saw the Master, an adult, whom his walking his talk. I could sense how their energy is shifting during and after the class; it was magic.
Back to the coffee shop, when the assistant Master bowed toward me, I have to admit that I was inspired. This young man who has a dream to be a Taekwondo Master walked his talk. In today’s world, I feel that many of us walk conflicted. We behave one way in the office and another way when we leave the office.
When I mentor new coaches or coach business owners they will talk with passion about the deep conversations they have with their clients. However, when they leave the office, when they are outside with other people who are not their clients they let go of their gifts, and it is as they don't know how to utilize their strengths the same way. They hold a value or strength strongly with one group of people and don't know how to access it, how to use it in other areas in life.
This young man knows that there is a long way for him to become a master. Even when you receive the black belt, the journey is still long. He also understands that part of his journey to become a master is to model Master behavior everywhere he goes. He holds the values of his Art strongly no matter where he goes and whom he speaks to.
I think that for some of us, doing what he did, stand up and bow in the middle of a coffee shop might sound strange, but when you walk your talk, you hold your values, thoughts and behaviors aligned no matter where you go or what others think. You stay true to what is most important to you even when others don't get it.
Do you feel a gap right now between the way you show up in one place and the way you show up in other areas of your life? I want to invite you to notice yourself. Notice your behavior, thoughts, and actions. Where does everything feel aligned? Where do you feel out of balance?
Gradually add one thing you do well to every aspect of your life and see what is available when you bring it everywhere.
For example, curiosity, if you are curious at home, with your friends and strangers, but lack curiosity at work, try to bring curiosity to everything you do and everywhere you go. Ask, ask and ask even more and see what the impact on your life or others is.
You might lose your balance even when you work on it, but the more you notice yourself and your gaps you will expand who you are and grow.