The Rock of Ages Visitors Center blog highlights the traditional Vermont way of life, offering Vermont wit, wisdom and reflection on a variety of topics, and seeks to inform the traveler about Vermont attractions, recreation and products.
ADDING A LITTLE ZIP WITH A SKIP
I was reminded recently of something I had heard Jim Fannin say when serving as a keynote speaker at a conference. Now for those of you unfamiliar with the name, Fannin is one of the self-proclaimed success gurus who has enjoyed a vibrant career as a life coach, his claim to fame being that he has personally coached more world-class athletes in the arenas of professional golf, tennis, football and baseball than any other single success coach, as well as many captains of industry. Our present-day world is full of gurus prattling hype and nonsense, so I generally am skeptical about such matters, but I was there, he was speaking, and so I decided to listen. And I was delightfully surprised about some of the things he had to say.
In the 1970s he created a success formula summed up by the acronym S C O R E. I won’t get into the details here, but among the success weapons in the SCORE armamentarium are a series of 90-second techniques to aid in focus, concentration and jumbled-mind clearing to assist the user in obtaining her/his desired goals in life, business or sports. During this particular lecture, he was sharing a rather humorous story about his attempting to help an NFL player get out of a slump. The football player had become so obsessed with the mistakes he found himself making on the field, that he was quickly losing all perspective. Fannin’s strategy was to get the man to loosen up a little, to approach life in both a more balanced and more playful way.
To accomplish that feat, he suggested to this 300-pound athlete that he skip like a child, that the act of skipping would help facilitate a more child-like mind state that would be useful in evaluating his current career challenges, help him to “reboot” and tackle (no pun intended) his challenges from a new and more resourceful vantage point. Fannin’s description of the player’s response to this seemingly ludicrous advice coming from his well-paid sports consultant was nothing short of hilarious. Clearly this “guru” had “lost it”. Fannin, true to form, proceeded to skip and brought even more condemnation upon himself by his possibly soon-to-be ex-client. His advice went unheeded.
As yet not fired, Fannin attended the client’s next game. He started the game off sides—OFF SIDES-an NFL pro! He continued to make a series of bumbling moves and was grabbed by the face mask by his head coach, who undoubtedly whispered some words of love and encouragement into his ears! So the game is not going well, his team is suffering at the hands of his cluttered-head-incompetence, he’s gotten another technical foul—his head is clearly not in the game. Then to Fannin’s amazement, the player returned to the field after a time out in a manner somewhat unusual for a football player—he was skipping.
Now I don’t believe that skipping is a panacea for all ills, not does Fannin. But the shift in mind set was just what this NFL player needed. The marked change in his performance throughout the remainder of the game was stunning, and his team won the game.
Now I don’t know if you should skip. I can’t give medical or psychological advice, so I provide the requisite warnings: If you have a medical condition, such as arthritis or a respiratory condition, skipping may be contraindicated. And PLEASE, all you would-be skippers with more than 30% blockage, consult your physician before adding skipping to your daily regimen. But for the rest of you, take some time this week to play with a young child, when you are alone and there is no one to throw a net over you, try skipping or watch a funny movie that makes you roll on the floor with laughter. However you do it, add a little light-hearted silliness to your day, stand back and see if your life does not take on a new perspective.
And in that vein of silliness, I rediscovered on YouTube a great, silly song—one of my favorite songs when I was seven years of age. It’s got onions, Marvin the Martian and Elmer Fudd. And who doesn’t love a kazoo!
Be silly and enjoy!
Todd Paton has more than 20 years of experience working in the Vermont tourism industry. Currently the Director of Visitor Services for Rock of Ages, one of Vermont's oldest, continuously operating attractions, he has served on the board of directors of the Central Vermont Chamber and the Vermont Hospitality Council. He is an active member of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and the Vermont Tourism Network. He is a past Chair and current member of the board of directors of Vermont Attractions Association, a consortium of Vermont attractions established in 1956 to promote the highest standards of hospitality among Vermont's tourism-related properties.