Tuesday, April 17, 2012

To Coattail or Not to Coattail ...

noun \ˈkōt-ˌtāl\
Definition of COATTAIL
1: the rear flap of a man's coat
2 plural : the skirts of a dress coat, cutaway, or frock coat
3 plural : the influence or pulling power of a popular movement or person (as a political candidate or celebrity) coattails>

Anytime I’ve heard this word used, it’s always with a negative connotation; defining the person who rode the coattail as being less than the person wearing the coat.  But, I’ve come to learn that just isn’t always the case.  In contrast to the popular consensus, the person riding the coattails is perhaps a bit cleverer than the one wearing the coat.   The one riding the coattails only has to use a portion of their strength or influence, while the one wearing the coat must extend their strength and influence in order to carry themselves and their passenger. 

Don’t get me wrong, I believe a person should make their way, and excel in their achievement based on their own merit, but that doesn’t mean their efforts have to be solitary.  We live in a social society where networking (meeting, knowing and associating) with the right people will provide an opportunity to open the right door.  What a person does on the other side of the door is what will measure their merit, not how they got to the door.  I’d wager that less than half of those who walk through an opportunity will succeed on the other side, because they lack the substance, gift or skill needed to sustain them.  However, the other half will soar to greatness, because greatness was already in them.  So, does it really matter if it took a coattail to make it to the door?  Only if it leads to a door you want?

There are many doors out there in this world, but I don’t want to walk through just any of them.  I’ve been offered many different types of coattails, but have turned many of them down. I have a certain adventure I want to accomplish in this lifetime, so there are only certain doors I want to walk through.  I have no qualms of riding on someone else’ coattails to reach them, or carrying someone else through doors I’ve already conquered.  In fact, I believe it a necessity and a privilege.  Look around you today?  Do you have a coattail someone else may benefit from, or one that you might find some benefit?  Then by all means … use it!

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

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