I was having an email conversation with someone the other day and I remember that the last thing I wrote was: go where the energy is.
She's a management trainer and was focusing on a particular program that was getting a lot of attention. As trainers, we often try to cram stuff down people's throats - something that does not work very well.
When I worked as an internal consultant, I would spend disproportionate amounts of time with leaders and teams. Those that wanted coaching got it. The leaders who were not interested in my coaching got none. I went where the energy was.
I was once a director of product development for a medium sized firm. My job was to research, define, and recommend new product ideas and tweaks. The owner was change averse and 90% of the time would respond saying that things were fine the way they are. People asked me whether I was bothered by the fact that I would do all this great work only to have the ideas discarded. Sure, it was a bit of a downer, but 10% of the time a new idea made it to the light. And often enough, the ideas from a couple cycles previous would come back up in conversation. Most of the work was put to use in some manner. Instead of getting too discouraged, I influenced the company and products where it was possible - going where the energy was.
I am not writing this post to pat myself on the back. Two questions:
Are you wasting your time focusing where the energy AIN'T?
Are YOU where the energy is?
I think these questions are key to helping us shape how we spend time and how we produce breakthroughs relative to our goals and dreams.
I got a bell! And now I am fully protected from road gremlins.
I want to thank fellow writer and blogger EM Sky (awesome author name!) for taking the time and care to find and send me a bell (and the expense!). I got the bell last Friday and it came with a fun story. Here is a portion from her letter:
So I'm driving up to Atlanta yesterday, on my way to a meeting, and as I'm zoning out on the highway something suddenly catches my eye: a row of motorcycles. I look over and discover that they are in front of a motorcycle dealership. And not just any motorcycle dealership, but a Harley Davidson motorcycle dealership. [Lisa's note: I mentioned in my post that the bell can be found at most Harley stores] "No way!" I think to myself, and I check again. Yes way, definitely Harleys. No question.
I check for traffic, and discovering myself alone in a miraculous "traffic bubble," I careen off the highway at the last second into the dealership lot. (Never fear... my whip-lash entrance did no damage to any of the lovely Harleys, nor to myself, nor to Padme, my beloved Jeep, who has accepted my impulsive nature from the beginning.)
Very funny. EM and I have never met, by the way, but we read each other's blogs. EM went into the dealership and found that there were several kinds of bells. She selected this lovely one for me. It says "Lady Rider" and came in a small velvet bag with a copy of the legend that confirmed the bell's powers are greatest when the bell is given to the biker. This is awesome news because it means that my new bell is supercharged. (Side note: Thoughtful gifts are always supercharged, for both parties, don't you think?)
That furry thing at the bottom of the picture is my 16 year old cat, Paris, who is checking to make sure the bell works. It does! I love it. It is a much nicer bell than I had on my last bike. I immediately put it on Hazel. Here's a look.
You can see the bell right below my headlamp. Now I am protected. I am blown away by EM's generosity. Doubly nice is that I can tell by her letter that she really enjoyed the whole experience too. Please stop over and check out one of her blogs, all under the banner of Mind Unbound - a great concept. Now I have the self-fulfilling prophecy working in my favor, not against me! Thanks EM, for making my week and saving me from those nasty road gremlins!
I find myself in an awkward situation. I need a bell, but if I buy my own bell, it is not as powerful. And if I ask for the bell, the one I receive will possess fewer protective properties. If I neither buy my own bell nor ask for the bell, it is unlikely that I will receive a bell and then I will have no protection at all.
Let me explain.
Perhaps you have noticed motorcyclists who have a small bell hanging near their front fender. What's this bell and why is it there? Legend - superstition - some clever bell manufacturer - has it that the bell protects bikers from road gremlins. This works because as the gremlins rise up from the road to attack us, they get stuck in the bell of the bell, bounce around, and then vibrate to death.
The little bell is powerful.
Further, the power of the bell is amplified if it is given from biker to biker. Buying your own bell is OK, but it is better if someone else gets the bell for you. This tradition seems more prevalent among cruiser riders. I see and hear fewer bells on crotch rockets (speed bikes).The small bell costs just a few bucks and often comes with a short write up about the legend. Most Harley stores have them.
I have a new motorcycle - a lovely purple Honda Sabre 1100. Her name is Hazel (short for Purple Haze). When I sold my BMW R1200C a few years ago, I gave up my bell, passing it along as it had served me well. That bell had been given to me by another biker. I'm not hanging around bikers these days and so no one knows or is likely thinking they ought to get a bell for Hazel and me.
What to do.....
I am assigning meaning, weight, importance to the bell, and by doing so, I am increasing its power over me. Is the fact that I am thinking about and writing about this bell going to impact my riding naked of the bell? What about the fact that I just wrote that sentence? Have I now surrendered to the gremlins by broadcasting that I have no shield?
It's a conundrum. I could ask for a bell and get some protection. But what if I need that extra bit that comes from unsolicited receipt? Have I now doomed myself by writing that sentence?
I am wondering if I ought not ride until I get a bell. The notion of wiping out around a gravel covered corner or being t-boned by an SUV driver too busy talking on his Motorola Razor to notice Hazel and me is highly unappealing. I wince at this thought as do men when someone mentions being kicked in the balls.
Have I doomed myself by writing that paragraph?
This feels like Poe's Tell Tale Heart. I can hear the ringing of the bell I don't have. It started softly but is now bellowing strong. As I put on my full face helmet, the ringing bounces around, killing non-bell thoughts. I am my own brand of gremlin.
"It is impossible to say how first the idea entered
my brain, but, once conceived, it haunted me day