Tonight, my wife, 6-year-old son, and I went to see Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion here in Boston. If you’ve never seen a Cirque du Soleil show, they are truly remarkable. Even though they have probably over-commercialized themselves (hey, who’s to begrudge success?) each show I’ve seen, and it’s been 3 or 4 I think, gives the “Wow!” factor.
When you see a performance of the caliber that Cirque du Soleil puts on, it’s awe-inspiring. The combination of physical strength and perfection along with the mental acuity and concentration required to do the performance is mind-boggling to me. These are people at the top of their game, day in and day out; every performance goes off as close to perfectly as it can.
There’s a flip side to that, of course. Because they are so talented, when there’s even the tiniest slip up, you notice it. A quiver in an arm here, or a slip of the lip there, and all of a sudden your willful suspension of disbelief can be broken for an instant. Then you think, well there was a screw up. What gets lost in that moment is the fact that what they are doing is remarkable, that you couldn’t even begin to do 1/1000th of what they are at that moment accomplishing yourself.
During the show, from time to time I was thinking about the fact that I made a mistake in one of the pieces of content in my DVWP Basics course, which I’m currently running at USPJ Academy. It’s not a big mistake, but several of the students noticed it and I need to fix it. Because I’ve put myself “up on stage” by running a course with my own material, the flaw in this case is mine. No matter how good the other content may be – and I hope it *is* good – the flaw is what is currently sticking in my mind.
I see a similar thing played out in the SharePoint community, too. (Everything comes back to SharePoint, don’t you know?) There are literally hundreds of people out there in the SharePoint community giving of themselves to assist others. In some cases it’s a part of their job, but in many, many cases, it’s pro bono. Yet even with no quid pro quo (how much did you pay for that ticket?) there’s push back, second guessing, and ingratitude too much of the time. It’s the flaws that people seem to see and dwell on and not the phenomenal contribution that folks just like all of us are putting out there.
So when you get that help, willfully suspend your disbelief and applaud the effort and giving mentality. Pretend that there isn’t an ulterior motive (usually there isn’t anyway) and say “thank you”. Those SharePoint performers, who are at the top of their game, are giving you themselves, two shows a night with a Sunday matinee.
Thanks for coming, and remember to tip your waiter.
p.s. That flaw in my material was really bugging me, so I just fixed it. I feel a lot better now.