The fly in the jam jar – when does the coach need a coach?

Remember the story of the fly trapped in the jam jar with a glass lid?

Stage 1 – the fly repeatedly hits the glass lid

Stage 2 – the fly learns to stop hitting the lid

Stage 3 – the glass lid is removed

Stage 4 – the jar is heated

Stage 5 – the fly becomes frantic but will not hit the (now imagined) lid

Stage 6 – the fly is destroyed by the heat

I have no idea whether there is any truth in that experiment but the metaphor is a useful one.

I’ve always hit the targets, whether set for me by others or set by myself.

Then I’ve become accustomed to operating at that new level and settled into a comfort zone.

Sometimes, heat has been applied (at home – school fees, a new car, bigger house; at work – payroll and operating expenses in an expanding business) and the target has increased dramatically.

That heat has frequently singed my wings (I was once described as the Icarus of dentistry).

Looking back at my working life – this was where my obsession with being a freelancer and not an entrepreneur was my undoing – I assumed that I had to pay the bills myself and not create businesses in which other people generated the extra income.

Lesson now learned – you cannot have the lifestyle of a freelancer and the assets of an entrepreneur (but – by the way – the opposite also applies).

I’ve now chosen the lifestyle of the freelancer (and I’ve rarely been happier).

I’m at a stage in my life where my financial commitments are reducing, as is my taste for any high life.

Thus my PSB (personal survival budget) is lower than at any time in the last 30 years.

But I think it’s making me too comfortable – meaning that I don’t believe I’m operating at my full potential.

I need a kick in the pants to raise my targets – “physician heal thyself”.

It’s not about the money.

I need some professional quests.

The epiphany over the last few days was that I need a coach.

Someone to help me take the lid off my jam jar.

Anyone out there brave enough to take that challenge?


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.

3 thoughts on “The fly in the jam jar – when does the coach need a coach?”

    1. Morning Nicola – the initial challenge IS that I don’t know the answer to that question.

      1. If time and money were no object I would love to do more speaking and writing;
      2. although it’s not about the money – more net earnings to fund future savings would be good (especially as I’m a committed freelancer, so there is no capital value in my business)

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