Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Little Progress

Pablo Casals was once considered to be the greatest cellist in the world.  I read that he practiced eight hours a day, every day, even into his eighties.

Someone asked him, in his latter years, "Pablo, why do you still practice so hard each day?  You are already the greatest cellist in the world?"

Casals replied, "Because I believe I am making some progress."
I love that quote.  The humility, the forward-looking hopefulness, and the confidence.  All of it.  I just love it.
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I received a call today from a former colleague of mine.  He worked with me on my staff for several years, and even though I retired a couple of years ago, he wanted to take me to lunch and ask for some advice about a career move he is considering.  I was touched by his respectfulness, and amused at his deference, as though my calendar is still as jam packed as it used to be.  He seemed to have overlooked the fact that I no longer have "vice president" after my name, and no one screens my callers.

He seemed to think I would need to "work him into my schedule."  That makes me smile, as these days I have no schedule, unless you count picking up the newspaper, reading it over morning tea, and then going out back to check out the hummingbird feeder.

I remember "power lunches" with leather briefcases parked discreetly at the chair legs of each person sitting at small tables with white starched linen tablecloths and both tumblers and wineglasses at each place setting.  Of course, once the days of the Drug Free Workplace came in, most of the wineglasses were discreetly removed before the waiter took our orders.  That was a good thing, as far as I was concerned.  Those three-martini lunches never resulted in any thing worthwhile, and had been known to impair a promising career.

So in a few days, my friend and I will meet for lunch and I will listen to his hopes and dreams of what he would like to accomplish in the next phase of his career.  He will ask for my advice, my opinion on prospective employers, who I believe will deal honorably with him, and which potential employer sometimes deals from the bottom of the deck.

I will give him my best shot at wisdom.  Hopefully there will be a smattering of insight in the conversation somewhere.  But mostly I will be listening, to hear whether he is set on advancement in his career, or upon making progress in his life.  While they are not mutually exclusive, they are not the same thing.

In my opinion, we all need to be like Pablo, making some progress.
Hope your day includes a little progress... Marsha


  1. I find that sometimes I'm not a good judge of the progress I've made. Have a great lunch and enjoy!

  2. You are becoming a consultant in retirement. The message about progress is a good one.

  3. Hello, Marsha. I am delighted that you stopped by my blog so that I could find my way to yours. I have found that shedding my work identity has been challenging at times... but, the world is our oyster... so many things left to try... so many possibilities... The quote is perfect. Thank you so much for sharing it. I look forward to visiting again. blessings ~ tanna
    ps love the title of your blog. ;)