By Dean Whittaker

One of my greatest joys is learning. Perhaps, it is yours too. If you’ve been reading our newsletter for awhile, you know its intent is to share with you what I and my other teammates at Whittaker Associates have learned that month. Hopefully, our experiences will be beneficial to you. One of the basics of learning is making mistakes. We can learn from our mistakes or we can learn from other peoples’ mistakes.

One of my “learnings” this month was sending my teammates an early morning email expressing my concern for our priorities relative to meeting our client’s expectations as each had had, what appeared to me to be, higher priorities in our lives (me included). After pressing SEND, I reflected on my message while doing my morning exercise routine and realized that I had failed to take into account my co-workers’ greatest attribute: they always get the work done despite their competing priorities. I have been told many times one of the aspects they most value about working at Whittaker Associates is our flexibility that gives them the control over their time so they can balance the competing priorities as needed.

My learning came when I realized I had allowed my early morning fear-produced anxiety to cloud my mind, pushing me to attempt to exert more control over their lives. My second email to them was one of apology thanking them for their dedication and commitment to the quality and timeliness of their work. Note to self: write the email, pause for a few hours or overnight, and then send it if it is still relevant. It is hard to take back words once written and sent. Fortunately for me, my teammates understood my craziness.

More Joy of Learning

Another joy this month is the joy I felt when given the opportunity to mentor a fourth grader at a local elementary school as part of Kids Hope. After receiving my thorough mentor training, I met my student. Confidentiality prevents me from sharing too much with you about him, but I will share my excitement and enthusiasm for the experience.

Fourth grade for me was a VERY long time ago but was a pivotal experience in my life. That was the year that Mrs. Owens, my fourth grade teacher, convinced me by the interest she had taken in me that I had value, and I could do something with my life. What a revelation! Someone I cared about had taken an interest in me. Like sailing, a few degrees of difference in course when we leave the harbor have a dramatic effect on where we end up in life. Thank you Mrs. Owens! Who made a difference in your life? Who could you make a difference for in their life?