Awhile back I was working through a visualization exercise mentioned in Steven Pressfield’s book “Do the Work”. My first post regarding this can be found here and if you search my blog you’ll a number of other visualizations that I’ve found useful using this. Let me summarize what this entails:
- Imagine a box with a lid. Hold the box in your hand. Now open it.
- What’s inside?
- It might be a frog, a silk scarf, a gold coin of Persia.
- But here’s the trick: no matter how many times you open the box, there is always something in it.
Over time I’ve found a golden table, a pressure washer, wood floors and a few others.
I hadn’t exercised my imagination in this way for a while, so I decided to give it a go and opened the box afresh. Today I found……a fish.
Today I opened the box and found a towel. My thoughts almost immediately raced to Douglas Adams‘ book "The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" the the assertion that a towel is the most mind-bogglingly useful thing one can have. It has comforting properties, has innumerable uses and is still fairly non-exceptional in presentation. I tried moving away from these qualities (if only because the book has so many other enticements for my imagination that I might likely get permanently derailed). The more I thought about these things, though, the more they made sense for what I’m considering.
In this analogy, what does a towel represent? Good question. It could be a member of your team. It might be a tool or set of tools you use everyday that has become second nature and integral to your productivity. It might be a set of principles you work or live by. I could be a methodology you use or set of habits you have developed to get stuff done. It could be a best friend or mentor that you rely upon (and who relies on you, too).
Take some time today. Discover what your towel is and reaffirm that it is, indeed, amazing. Don’t take it for granted.
I opened the box today and found a steering wheel. My attention involuntarily went to the whole “direction of your team/business” kind of attention hole. After climbing out of that one and spending a little more time looking at this particular steering wheel, I realized there is a higher meaning here. It has to do with responsibility. This responsibility is both visionary and of the moment.
I opened the box today and found hard wood floors..in boxes…with guys and their tools ready to start installing it all.
This has been my life this week. My family and 4 cats have voluntarily relegated ourselves to a couple of large connected rooms (mostly to keep the cats out of the flooring stuff) in the evenings, and the cats are there during the work day (plenty of food, water, toys, and, heaven help us all, litter…). It’s not comfortable and we’re all dearly looking forward to when (hopefully late this afternoon) they will be done, do the final sweep up, and we can reassemble our normal lives.
So, beyond the obvious, I started to think about what this evolution has entailed and what else I can learn from it. Here’s what I have so far…
Image by Goins via Flickr
So I Opened the Box today and found a pressure washer.
I began meditating on what this might represent, other than the forcible removal of gunk from my patio, driveway, sidewalk, etc. What has come up for me is the process I go through to figure out whether I should have something done by someone else or whether I should do it myself. This has broad implications for personal endeavors and business.
First some backstory…
So I Opened the Box today and found a golden table.
So I thought about what this actually might refer to and I came up with: meetings.
When was the last time one of those landed in your inbox and made you respond, “Hot diggety, a meeting!” as you snapped your hand to the Accept button?
…I thought so. Me neither. So I had to think about it some more.
So I opened my Kindle and a copy of “Do the Work” by Steven Pressfield showed up a couple of days ago. This book has been touted by Seth Godin for awhile, and I pre-ordered the free e-book about a month ago. Anyway, I started reading it today and something has already jumped out at me.