Some years ago, I wrote a song for a musical theatre piece. Called “Tall Inside”, the theme was that many good things (including great character) come in small packages. (Almost every short friend I have says they feel “Tall Inside” and that it’s something of a surprise to them that it isn’t reflected in their actual height.)
At a party last Saturday I met a gentleman who fits prosthetic limbs at the local veterans hospital. He glowed as he talked about the communion he creates with his clients. He said that after having a succession of unrelated jobs (contracting, tax preparation) he wished he had discovered this career sooner.
The job obviously isn’t just mechanical for him, even though it involves measuring and fitting. He says he is blown away by the stories of heroism he encounters. “Some of my clients face challenges on a daily basis that would have incapacitated me emotionally long ago,” he says. He feels privileged to be part of their journey.
It was evident to me that his respect for his clients promotes a culture of healing, where they feel safe to share with him details of their journey that it may be impossible to share elsewhere. And that the respect he feels for them seems to me to be just as healing as receiving the new limb.
My job as a coach includes providing emotional safety for clients directly. However, it’s also of great value to people when all of us can provide some of that safety in jobs that don’t involve coaching or counseling. Most often, it’s as simple as demonstrating by your presence, and respect for the other, that you are safe, available, and open.
I told him I wanted to write about him this week. He joked, “Could you give me more hair and make me taller in your column?”
Somehow I suspect those things don’t matter to those who already appreciate him. He’s definitely “Tall Inside”.
May we pursue our paths, demonstrating through presence and kindness that we are all “Tall Inside”,