Happily Ever After by Paula Fracasso
Business and Life Coach, Paula Fracasso, writes about the lesson of recurrence. She discusses repetition, recurrence as not being the same thing
I once had a high-tech angel investor for a client. He often spoke about “one-time learning” for his investments. He wanted the companies he was incubating to learn a lesson the first time, not make the same mistake over again. He would have strong words of feedback for me if he believed that I had repeated a lesson when training one of the leaders in a portfolio company. He wanted every principle to add value, be new, be complete, and for every learner to master it. Done.
At the same time, he adored failure. Some days I felt like he had some arbitrary criteria for how many mistakes I was to make. I would go home and inquire as to what to bring to my coaching and training services for this company. It took me a few months on this contract to figure out this conundrum. I was suppose to be taking big risks, doing things I had never done before, completely messing them up so I could see how NOT to do it, and then repeating the task and make a DIFFERENT mistake. Hopefully, an equally big one and logging the learning all the way. The standard he was looking for me to meet as his team’s coach was a daring attitude to risk learning something new.
This is why this man did angel investing. By the time his companies were ready for venture money or market profitability, he lost interest. At that point, there would be systems, protocol, procedures, and replicability in key areas, and he would go looking for someone small enough, new enough, and hungry enough to practice his high-risk learning method.
There are things I do everyday, routine things, that have been perfected. There can be no new learning about flossing my teeth. Oh yes, it’s true that every three or four years some improvement in floss comes along, but it doesn’t change my flossing habit substantially. Then there are things that I do every day for which there is no end to the potential to learn. Coaching, for example. Every conversation is a new space. The client is different, I am different, the outcome desired from the conversation is different. Moreover, I’m a better coach. I learn something from every single conversation. So everyday I stand on the learning of the day before and then take the biggest risk I can bring myself to take.
The lesson I took away from my client those many years ago is a distinction called recurrence. Compared with repetition, recurrence is not the same thing you’ve done before. It’s bringing your whole self to the task at hand with all the previous learning plus all the potential to learn. This is the heart of evolution. Imagine where we would be if each generation had to repeat all the learning of the previous generations.
One of my clients recently sent this testimonial, “The best way I explain my coaching experience is this: ‘Did you ever play a sport in grade school? How about high school? College? Why did you need a coach when you were in college? You already knew how to play the same game since you were in Little League.’" I thought it a beautiful statement of the nature of recurrence.
The early childhood curriculum at the school my children attend is fairly tales. My daughter’s kindergarten teacher once told me about the imagination of childhood and why fairy tales are important for the growing will of a child. Rather than teach directly through linear, pragmatic instruction, a fairy tale can seed the idea of a concept a child may not be ready to cognitively understand, persistence for instance. After the trials and tribulations of the characters the story ends, “And they lived happily ever after.” One day I realized the declaration that “happily ever after” is. It’s the declaration of completeness of the lesson. This lesson is done. Let us not repeat the lesson. Let us return tomorrow ready to learn anew, from a new level of mastery, with a daring attitude to risk learning; And live happily ever after.
Paula Fracasso brings inspiration and success as a Life & Business Coach! With her extensive background in human development, non-profit management, and social and cultural entrepreneurship, Paula specializes in teaching new methods of learning for personal, organizational, and cultural change. She received her coach training from Newfield Network and has had a coach since 1998. Paula has served as a non-profit executive and philanthropic manager where she launched successful ventures for the benefit of society and culture, raised millions of dollars, and created long-lasting social interventions. Paula brings this experience as well as her deep study of life to foster understanding and action in her clients for their extraordinary growth and expansion.
People Biz, Inc. is a coaching and training company that helps clients to achieve measurable transformation in realizing their personal and professional goals. Owner Alicia Marie Fruin has since been coaching, training and helping business owners for over 11 years. Her years of experience as a professional coach, workshop leader and entrepreneur have allowed her to help businesses reach their optimal potential, improving productivity and increasing profits. More information on coaching and training services offered by People Biz, Inc. can be found online at www.peoplebizinc.com or by calling (512) 989-2230.