“This is a ‘red letter’ day”, exclaimed my singing tutor.
I had no idea what she was talking about. It was something to do with the way the air had moved on my palette as I was practising the exercises.
The change was too subtle for me – I couldn’t hear the difference. Nevertheless, her excitement rubbed off, as she waxed lyrical about how this was a significant moment in the development of my voice; one which would make me a better singer.
Had she not pointed out the transition and commended me on my progress, I realise I would have been none the wiser. I’d have simply ticked that box – job done and moved on with my day.
The concept of red letter days is an interesting one; describing any day of special significance or opportunity. We probably all do the special days well enough – birthdays, Christmas, public holidays and so on – albeit some friends would say their husbands not so much.
Typically, people aren’t as good at recognising those days where a breakthrough has occurred, or where progress has been made against an objective. It’s amazing how often, in 1:1 coaching sessions, I have to draw attention to coachee milestones; those small steps I can see are pivotal in that person’s future success. They, on the other hand, miss the significance because they’re busy focusing on the wider goal.
So, what learning can we take from this scenario?
One thing is to spend time with people you find re-affirming; who will challenge you when it’s needed and cause you to stop and take notice of a job well done.
Having paused to smell the coffee myself, I’m off to put the kettle on! Fancy a brew?