My elder child is currently taking piano lessons. It was decision we debated for a while because we were not clear if our child had like music enough to stick it through a very “involved” piano lesson plan. It’s a minimum commitment of one year with 40 weekly lessons.
As with all project beginnings in life and at work, it was exciting, yet difficult. The classes were in Chinese (We had enrolled her in lessons in Shanghai) and it wasn’t hers or the wife first language, so understanding the lessons was a challenge. When you actually played the keyboard, your initially stiff fingers would find difficulty in playing any decent chord. Then there was the weekly “homework” that the child had to practise at home and record a short video for the teacher to critic.
Let’s just say we had a fair share of conflict with the child during the initial months.
However, our consistent message was “Keep on going. Quit, only after you are done”. No matter what you do or start to do, you had to keep going and complete it. Only after you have completed the project, the lesson, the experience, can you make an informed decision on whether you like/dislike, find suitable/or not, love/hate a particular thing you are doing.
When you start a new career, there is a very short “honeymoon” period of excitement when everything is new and fresh, but it very quickly moves into the “adapt” phase where you have to learn to transition and adapt to the new environment. The end result could be that you eventually thrive or you fail, but it is only when you complete your “year” and done your time will you be able to safely conclude that this or that was suitable or not.
Ever put together a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle? How about a 1000 piece Lego figurine? We all go through the same excitement, then trough, before we eventually succeed or fail.
So, remember, no matter what you do, always stick it out, finish the race, complete the project, reach the end. At that point, you would have either taste the victory and crave for more, or you would have got bitten by failure and decided to refocus or shift to something else.
For my child and her piano lessons, we are half way in and an encouraging development happened after the first quarter, when she had her first performance and received a certificate from the teacher. That evening, she came home beaming with pride. The joy was shining on her face.
We later had a conversation …
“Did you enjoy your performance?” She said yes.
“Did you feel proud of receiving your certificate?” She said yes.
“Are you looking forward to your next certificate?” She said yes.
In conclusion, don’t short change yourself by giving up half way.
While on the way there, find little successes that can keep you moving forward.
Quit, (if you still want to) only after you are done.
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“Parenting is the new MBA: Succeed at work by applying parenting skills” is a column that combines 2 distinct areas of my life: my professional view on workplace management & my personal experience as a parent.