Coaching John Leadership Development

What a jam session teaches us about life.


This past weekend in St. Louis a gathering of people interested in Irish music was held at a local pub. Sponsored by a local group of folks, the Tionol ( was a setting where musicians of all levels can get together, play music, and learn from each other.

The food was wonderful, Guiness was flowing and hundreds of people gathered both indoors and outdoors to experience the music that they loved.

I noticed some very applicable principles to all our lives while watching these informal session groups start, play and then dissolve.

  • You don’t need to ask for permission! You have all the permission you need to move forward in your life, you just need to jump in and get started. Folks would sit down, unpack their instrument, listen to the tunes and then start playing. Everyone would keep playing, you just needed to jump in.
  • Growth happens in the context of uncomfortable settings. The music was beautiful, but the looks of intense concentration on everyone’s faces showed that the beauty came with effort. Most people focused on their instrument, or the instrument of the person next to them as they learned the tunes and followed along. Don’t be afraid of the uncomfortable. Embrace it! Stretch yourself today and put yourself out where you might fail. This is where the great moments of life happen.
  • Spending time with like minded people speeds your growth. From the stooped, gray haired elders to the little girl who could hardly see over the table, everyone had tips and encouragement for each other. Questions were asked, instruments were looked over, and stories were told. At the end of the day, everyone was focused on the common goal of getting to play better and experience each other. Find a group of folks who share your passion and contribute to the group, it’s a wonderful feeling to be a part of something where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Where can you apply these principles in your life today?