Bella Fleck is arguably the greatest banjo player in the world. Winner of 16 Grammy Awards, his amazing repertoire ranges from bluegrass to classical. He made the news in the music world when he wrote a banjo concerto called “The Imposter” and performed it with symphony orchestras around the country to sell-out crowds.
A banjo in a symphony? Banjos don’t go with Bach and Beethoven. They belong with square dances, pizza parlors, and having-a-great-time gatherings. Symphonies are supposed to be serious highbrow sounds appreciated by intellectuals who wear tuxedos and drink manhattans. Banjos go with blue jeans, straw hats, and people who prefer a cold beer. Leave that thought on the page.
You started life as a banjo! Early in your life you giggled, took few things seriously, and assertively leaped into silly games with the single goal of having fun, not winning. You were as innately fair and kind to kids around you as you were the stuffed toy you cherished. As you entered socialization school and success institute, you realized the banjo was not a serious instrument for work life. At first, your transformation was uncomfortable and awkward. Later you forgot ever being a banjo and worked as an “imposter.” Oh, you got a glimpse of it when you played with your kids. But such folly was left in the parking lot.
Well, guess what? Your customers adore the sweet sound of a banjo. If you are in a leadership role, the same is true for your employees. They love the authenticity of its joyful spirit and invitational style. Banjo behavior makes people want to jump up and join in. It changes melancholy to magical and reserve to sociable. Banjo joy helps foster in customers the rhythmical tapping of happy feet, not the intolerant drumming of impatient fingers. Courageously be who you really are when you “play” in your orchestra.
When Bela Fleck was interviewed about his concerto, he said, “I wanted to write something honest to me and I wanted it to be classical.” Stop being an imposter. Release the honest banjo inside you and let your cheerful spirit influence and inspire the symphony of which you are a part.