The Triple Threat

In the musical comedy world, a performer who can act, sing and dance is called a triple threat. To be sure, there are great singers, many of whom can dance, but unfortunately they struggle with the acting part. And then there are great actors who can sing, but are cursed with two left feet. Real triple threats are rare.

Ginger and Fred – Triple Threats

Yesterday, Gigi and I were talking about triple threats in the business world. These are some people, said Gigi, who are smart, hardworking and kind. As in the theater, it’s quite common to find people who possess two of those qualities, but rarely all three. Unfortunately, said Gigi, the business world is full of smart, hardworking folks who aren’t very nice. Sigh.

Reflecting on this, I’ve decided that the people I tend to form long term relationships with (personally and professionally) usually have all of those qualities. And most of them are funny! Ha! I guess you might call them Quadruple Threats!

When it comes down to it, I believe that kindness is the irreplaceable, highest quality in a human being, so I’d rank that numero uno in my book (see “All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”).

Call me crazy, but I look for niceness everywhere and I do my best to offer the same. In my book, you can be as smart as Einstein or as hardworking as Michael Jordan, but if you ain’t gonna treat me kindly – we ain’t gonna last, fella!

Sometimes. we blame our parents for this or that character trait, but do we ever stop and think, “my parents taught me how to be a good person!” I do. In fact, I’d say my mother is a quadruple threat. In addition to being kind, she knows how to buckle down and work her butt off. My mom is smart and she has a great sense of humor (#4)). That’s a great combo.

Jim and Pat Campbell – Quadruple Threats

I think my mom’s greatest gift to me was teaching me to be heart-smart. Pat Campbell taught me how to keep my word, to be considerate of others and how to be forever loyal to my friends and colleagues. I haven’t completely lived up to her example, yet, but I try. As I wrote in a song for her once, “My Mother Was A Model.”

Let me be honest, though. Deep in the throes of my therapy or ACA work, there were times when I undervalued my mother’s gifts to me. I thought I was the sole architect of my personality and my talents. Balderdash! In reality, I am the sum of my influences, the fusion of my family, friends, teachers and heroes. For example, I would not be who I am without Beth and she without me. “No man is an island,” said John Donne. In my youth, I was designed by a committee (community) led by my mother. That’s often how kids end up being a mensch or not.

Funny. I didn’t set out to write a post about my mom or her affect on me. But that’s where my heart went, today. I am very thankful and lucky to be her son.

And – here’s the important part – one of life’s passages is learning how to properly thank your Mom (or whoever raises you) and then go and live your life. Parenthood is supposed to gradually taper off, but that only happens when everybody follows through on their jobs. One of those jobs is to know when to continue being a parent and when to let go. That’s something that came hard to my mother and I, but we are now friends.

Here’s the truck: we have to learn how to become what we call in ACA “our own loving parent.” And, we sons have to learn how to separate from our mothers and make our wives the center of our universe.

All of this can be challenging. It takes bravery to let go of our parent’s hand, stop blaming them for our problems and move forward as our own loving parent. Consequently, some folks struggle with this well into their adulthood.

If we can do it, though, life begins anew. We are no longer tied to others by obligation or guilt (nor they to us). We spread our arms and we expand, attracting mostly healthy, vibrant energetic people toward us. And when we arrive there? We can try love everyone – including our parents – as we are right now. This is heaven on earth, in my opinion.

So, be a triple threat. Work hard, be smart snd be kind. Put another way, we can ACT with love, SING with emotional abandon and invite everyone we know to the DANCE.

Wanna come?

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