The Guest Room: Musings on Inspiration by Robert Anderson
I’m excited to introduce you to someone who is a constant source of inspiration in my life. My husband, Robert Anderson. Rob has recently begun to actively pursue a dormant passion of his, singing. I think it is important to pursue our dreams in the midst of our daily responsibilities. I asked him to share a little bit of his journey back to pursuing his passion.
Years ago, my best friend, Jiar and I began this process of what we called “continual refinement.” We would insulate ourselves from reproach by consistently doing what we believed to be right. We would continue to make ourselves better in every way we could surmise. We believed that by doing so, someday we would leave the world a better place than we found it. Jiar and I were two young inner-city youths cut from a different cloth; a cloth of growth, sewn together with the threads of aspiration and inspiration. We found ourselves earning Master’s degrees, taking second language courses and thus developing our talents.
Years later, while teaching a university course on foundational practices of academic success, I came across some readings about a Japanese business philosophy called, kaizen. Loosely defined, kaizen means continuous improvement. Little did I know that a decade earlier, Jiar and I had begun the journey of kaizen; the same philosophy that lead Japanese car companies to become the global leaders in auto manufacturing. (Can someone say Toyota?)
Fast forward to 2011: After several noteworthy achievements and successes; balancing a fulfilling marriage, experiencing the joys of fatherhood, occupational bliss, and strong spiritual connection, there was one other passion that lie dormant. My passion for singing! I had always considered myself a decent crooner, and after lending my talents to serve as a prelude to wedded bliss for dozens of couples and receiving hundreds of handshakes, hugs, and compliments in return, I felt pretty good about what I could do. But I knew I was not as good as I needed to be to compete with “the big boys” and take my rightful place among them. That was my new goal – Famous at 50; the oldest person to win a Grammy for “Best New Artist”.
Kaizen is still at work! Believe it, or not, I’ve gotten better! Because of my perseverance, prayer, and improved technical insight, I’ve been able to break through to that next level of vocal ability. For my first performance in many years, I contacted any and everyone who had ever heard me sing before and invited them to my show. I knew they would be in for an amazing night, and I did not disappoint. I could see in the audiences’ faces; I had captured them. This was personal fulfillment at its finest! A few ladies from the audience even felt compelled to join me on stage. John Legend, “eat your heart out”! It was such a wonderful feeling to affect people the way that I did that night. To make my loved ones proud, was one of the best feelings in the world.
I learned years ago that it is true, a universal truth- What goes around surely comes back around. All the work you put in, all of the strategic work (physical and mental) will converge into something beautiful, something magnificent, something worthwhile and fulfilling. A beautiful melody, poignant lyrics, and rhapsodic rhythms is my passion. The ability to create radiant smiles, and beaming pride is an honorable gift. Our journeys lead us to discovering the gifts we’ve been given. This search confirms that living is a process. There are highs and lows, ebbs and flows, and embracing all aspects of the journey will help to refine us into our best selves.
Are there any passions lying dormant in your life?