Will we spend our lives connecting with people or correcting them?
So, I was tossing raw eggs out of my car window on a dark country road, when one got away from me and smashed on to my dashboard, showering me with all things raw egg. Yes, I am an idiot.
OK, let me back up a bit. I was on my way home after an evening of teaching ‘Problem Solving’ at a company. Part of the session was to challenge participants to come up with something to protect a raw egg when being dropped from a height of 8 feet. The participants only had a certain number of drinking straws and two long pieces of masking tape to work with.
On my way home, I still had a number of unused eggs. Instead of just throwing them away at home, I thought I’d just gently toss them, one by one, out of my moving car so the local critters could feast. Yeah, that worked out well.
I do like the activity though. Not the egg exploding in my car activity…the problem solving activity. It makes people work together to protect something that’s quite fragile.
I do wonder how often, in the midst of busyness, especially now with the holidays and the current political environment, we forget just how ‘fragile’ things are these days at work, or even overall.
Because of neglect — more often, it’s really outright avoidance — we don’t protect the fragile. We don’t do the hard work.
Hard work like having conversations…the right conversations…that are never held. Needed conversations about unresolved conflict. We avoid, and avoid, and avoid, until there is a point where it all hits the fan and everyone is covered.
Or perhaps we are trying to protect our ‘fragile view of our work culture.’ Are we surrounding it all with platitudes and wishful thinking, hoping it won’t ‘crack’, exposing it for what it really is? Are we trying to keep it intact? Maintain the status quo? And thus blinding us to the ongoing effort we need to build and maintain a great place to work?
Author and Speaker John Maxwell asks “Will we spend our lives connecting with people or correcting them?”
Is ‘correcting them’ our way of avoiding vulnerability? The kind of relationship that admits mistakes, and seeks to be more of the student rather than the teacher with each other?
Or are we willing to pump our brakes, slow down, and truly see what we have been building around all that is fragile?
Back to my self-inflicted egg catastrophe. As I was pulled over and parked on that dark, two lane road, frantically cleaning egg remnants off everything (including myself), a vehicle pulled alongside and stopped.
“You OK in there?” came the voice of this good Samaritan in their old pickup.
“Yes”, I replied. “Just a little food accident. I was being careless and paid the price. But thanks for checking on me. I really appreciate it.”
Being careless with what’s fragile can happen. Owning our part of that, and learning from it makes all the difference.
And when we see others being just as careless, and paying a similar price, let’s pull up, roll down our ‘window’, and ask them “Are you OK? I’ve been there and let me help you clean up, and move on”.
May this holiday season be our time to let go. To ask for help. To be honest with ourselves, our workplaces and each other. Nothing wrong with cooking those eggs, either. Happy and a blessed Holiday season!