I came across a beautiful story a couple of months back. As so many things in life, I stumbled across it at exactly the right time, the words struck a chord with me and have been playing in the back of my mind ever since. Today I eventually dug it out from where I had carefully saved it (not Evernote, not Gmail, not my folders, it was in my Facebook saves it turns out!) and had another read. For those of you with the time I highly recommend a read, but don’t forget to come back here to finish reading this blog! And for those of you who don’t, I’ve summarised it below.
It’s written by a lady called Christine Kane who is a former American folk singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist based in Asheville, North Carolina according to Wikipedia. The story is about a guy called Jim who Christine met at the campus of Jacksonville University where she had her very first show on her very first tour as a paid musician. Christine had driven for 2 days to get to the gig and instead of the hordes of adoring fans Christine was hoping for there was just one person in the room, the janitor! Despite this Christine played her heart out, telling herself ‘that this janitor was going to get a great show, even if he had to feel embarrassed for this pathetic person on stage.’
As the gig progressed Jim went from pushing a broom across the back of the room, to sitting at one of the tables in the front of the room to chatting with Christine between songs to getting his requested Fleetwood Mac song played. Christine kept playing and Jim kept listening despite no one else joining them and at the end of the show Jim bought Christine’s CD. Despite the low turnout for her first gig Christine went on to become big, really big. One year later on Christine’s return to Jacksonville for a CD release Jim was there again bringing along 6 friends, and then again at Christine’s subsequent Jackson gigs, each time bringing more people.
Christine tells this story to everyone who is just starting out and is hoping for more from their business, just like me. In her wise words;
“Keep doing your thing. Because no one is a janitor. And everyone is Jim.”
Christine’s Jim story filled me with hope and emotion as I first read it and later as my mind returned to Jim and Christine’s story. Then today as I began to write this blog I realised that I already have a Jim, except my Jim is a Jess!
Jess is a writer, a musician and a school teacher. Jess was my very first pro bono client and I couldn’t have hoped for a better first client! Jess eagerly booked in her 3 required coaching sessions with me, turning up bursting with energy each time, and courageously took on big goals as I clumsily fumbled through my new found coaching skills, or at least that’s how it felt.
Jess was also the only attendee to my very first Sunrise Session on the 3rd of October! My heart leapt when I saw that I had my very first sign-up for my event, and not just 1 but 2 people, Jess was bringing a friend! However as the event drew closer the number of sign-ups stayed obstinately on 2! The evening before the session I debated letting Jess know that they would be the only 2 people, giving them the option to back out if it all felt a bit too awkward but instead I decided to stick with it.
I arrived at Maroubra Beach at 6.15 am the next morning, wondering if Jess and her friend were going to make it, after all it was a pretty early start. In fact, I was wondering why I had even come up with this silly idea, who would ever want to turn up this early in the morning I thought?! Turns out Jess was already there, minus the friend who wasn’t well. ‘Ummmm, so err, this is us’ I embarrassingly said, desperately feeling my awkwardness in the situation ‘I hope that’s okay’.
Jess was absolutely okay with that and the first Sunrise Session commenced! I stuck to my planned session, playing it full out regardless of the fact it was just the two of use. Rather than dwelling on the lack of people I felt a sense of calm with finally getting these sessions kicked off (I had been meaning to start them for months!), grateful for Jess’s presence and the special time that sunrise on a beach always is.
Following on from the session Jess emailed me and thanked me for the session. I sent my most sincere thanks back, feeling really pleased that I had gone ahead with the session and with the added motivation to be a coach, supporting and encouraging people do the things they want to do with their life. Despite my small and humble beginnings I feel reassured that if I can find more people like Jess to work with my business will have the impact I want it to in the world.
“Set thy heart upon thy work, but never on its reward.” The Bhagavad Gita
So to my Jim AKA Jess – a big and heart felt thank you, I really appreciate you showing up for me and will always do so even if it is just us! And to all the other Jim’s out there, why not come join us? I promise to continue to play full out, regardless of how many show up!