Recently, I visited the Texas Renaissance Festival. If you have not heard of it, look it up online and consider going. For two months in the fall of each year on weekends, a medieval village comes to life and is enjoyed by thousands of visitors. This is the first year I have attended since starting my business and it caused me to look at all the attractions a bit differently.
Instead of rushing around like a fascinated child as I usually do at such things, I looked critically at each eatery, shop, performance and roaming entertainer to consider how they came to work at this festival and why they began performing their particular activity in the first place. Something that stood out even before I realized that I was analyzing these individuals was how dedicated they were to delivering an authentic old-world experience to the adoring crowds. They seemed to enjoy whatever service they performed as much as I enjoy counseling high school students about college planning.
There were face painters, fire breathers and craftsmen and women who fashioned amazing objects from metal, wood, glass as well as from precious metals and jewels. There were clothiers, musicians, leather smiths, bakers, chefs and even mysterious women who claimed they could reveal your fortune. All the games and rides and attractions that do not lend themselves to easily being described all had something in common. Someone had to approach the governing body of the festival, present a proposal to have their idea included as a part of the festival and then deliver that service as advertised once approval was given. What a great example of free enterprise and entrepreneurship.
One other thing dawned on me while I enjoyed all the individuals who produced the sights and sounds of a time long past… Someone must have seen a spark in each of these festival participants and nurtured that spark until it became a flame. Encouragement in their endeavors became the fuel to keep that flame burning until each individual could provide their own fuel. Those individuals began providing more of their own fuel by pursuing more education, training and honing the skills they already had. I am sure that not all of the workers needed a college education for the activities they performed but some did. Others required an apprenticeship of some kind or specialized training to begin earning money doing what they love. So it is with our modern communities, cities, states and our nation. Look for that spark in the young people around you. When you see it, offer what advice you can to fan that spark into a flame. Once it catches fire, stand back so that your eyebrows don’t get scorched and enjoy how brightly it burns in their smiles of satisfaction in a job well-loved and well done.
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