My ego was memorably checked early in life. At 18, I was hired to work at a brand new health club. The owner, Francisco Alvarez, was 70 when I met him. He was a first generation Cuban immigrant, who treated me like his daughter, and paid me as well as his two step sons, who also worked at the club. However, at one point, a couple of years into working for him, I gave him a bit of snotty attitude because I was feeling disproportionately responsible for more work than one of his sons. Like the gentleman he always was, he asked me to come into his office. He asked me if I thought he treated me well. I said “Yes, of course, but…” He then gently said: “Stop. I want you to think about something. Can you imagine a bucket?” (Yes, I said.) “Can you imagine the bucket filled with water?” (Yes, I said…wondering where this was going.) “Can you imagine putting your fist into that bucket of water and pulling it out?” (Yes, I said (albeit thoroughly confused.) He looked me right in the eye and said: “I love you like my daughter. I respect you. You are very talented. Yet if you ever speak to me disrespectfully again, when we both know that you know better— as much as it would pain me — I will have to fire you. The hole you will leave in my company will be as big as the hole in that bucket of water you imagined.”
Talk about a wake up call! I could clearly see there would be no hole. But more so, I was ashamed of my behavior. It was almost as if he had poured a bucket of water on me to wake me up. I knew I had it good. I knew the reasons why he was giving me more responsibility and I was lucky. I was learning from a brilliant mentor. Yet, I dished attitude and he set me straight right in that moment. It was done with clarity, directness and kindness.
In so many ways, life is but a dream. Still, 42 years later — I’ve never forgotten what was one of the best lessons I’ve ever been taught by another. Have you ever had a moment like that?
Silver Disobedience® philosophy believes all healthy relationships begin with self-awareness. I’m @DianGriesel aka @SilverDisobedience ✨ I am a Perception Analyst and I wrote The Silver Disobedience Playbook. Here, I share my Daily Meditations for other Ageless, Passionate & Curious People. More info in my bio, my websites and at Wilhelmina New York.