Yes, I know – books don’t have wiggly lines. Books have straight lines don’t they. So that we know how to read them. And that’s kind of reassuring. It’s normal and comforting – for US. However, it also applies to other areas of life where it is not such a useful concept. And to be fair – writing in a straight line from left to right is not the norm everywhere, is it? Just in the western world.
In life in general though, I find that WE are also expected to go in straight lines, aren’t we? We go to school and we are supposed to know – as a child – what we want to do and where we are going for the rest of our lives? There is the straight line planned out for us at age 14. No wonder kids feel such pressure nowadays.
That reminds me of a time, when I was a kid and we went on holiday to Cornwall. Me, Mum, my sister and my Dad. Now – I have observed that some men – and my Dad was definitely one of these – do not like to ask for directions. In fact, I remember him ending up on the east coast one day when he was meant to be in Wigan!
Anyway, on this day, we were heading for somewhere near St. Tudy in Cornwall – and as we got nearer, a sign popped up – 1.2 a mile to St. Tudy! Yay – we were nearly there!
Only we weren’t.
10 minutes later Mum said to Dad, ‘Honey – wasn’t that the tree we just drove past?’. He swore it wasn’t but the rest of us knew it was, because 10 minutes later we went past the same tree. And again, and then again. All straight roads seemed somehow to lead back to the same tree and the same sign – St. Tudy ½ mile, and whichever road we took at that junction it didn’t go to where we wanted it to go.
Eventually we had to stop and ask, much to Dad’s chagrin, and it turned out there was an almost hidden turn – un-signposted, which took us down a very wiggly windy road, but took us to exactly where we needed to be.
I’m 47 and I still remember that day. And how things that seem so straightforward and normal can be confusing and misleading. And sometimes you just need to stop, take a step back and see what the real picture is. Sometimes you need to ask for help – like it or not.
And as the leader of your business – sometimes there isn’t anyone within the business to ask. Which is where we come in. Sometimes what you need and cannot do yourself because you are too close to it – is to see the bigger picture. You need to observe that the straight lines (the norm, the usual routine) is not working and you need to see the wiggly lines (the alternative or new direction).
If you need someone who can help you find your wiggly line – drop me an email to [email protected] or connect with me on LinkedIn and let’s talk!
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Julie Hutchison is co-Director with Jan Sargent of Transforming Performance, a consultancy which provides businesses with expert support in Leadership Coaching, Team Development and Performance Coaching, Executive Coaching, Mentoring, Training and Behavioural Profiling and help in getting the best from you and your people. If you’d like to have a chat and a coffee to discuss how we can help you, we’d love to talk. Call us on:
01722 484155 or 07947 823842