Stop Working So Hard

Sometimes working really hard isn’t enough. Sometimes it’s even the wrong thing to move you forward. I was thinking about this the other day, not as I was running my company and pondering being the “duct tape” of my organization vs. the leader who creates a sustainable business framework, but as I was attempting to steer a three person kayak in Elliott Bay.

My sister was in the front of the kayak and my seven year old niece was in the middle. The kayak purveyor had kindly given my niece a paddle. My sister, not an experienced kayaker, but a very nice and lovely person, would become alarmed that we were heading too close to a pier or the shore or a boat and would frantically paddle in an attempt to move the kayak in another direction. Meanwhile, I would press one foot a few inches on a pedal that controlled the rudder, and the kayak would drift into the right direction. My sister would breathe a sigh of relief.

My niece jumped right in to help: paddling backwards, her paddle kicking up lots of water at me, generally having a great time. These efforts, while vast, did not actually propel the kayak where we needed to go.

What propelled us was the rudder. And more directly, my foot pressed a few inches on a pedal.

We’ve all scoffed at the ridiculous “work smarter, not harder” motivational posters because sometimes, there’s work to be done and you just have to roll up your sleeves and do it. But sometimes, you just need to make sure you’ve got the pedal hooked up to the rudder.

Kayaking on Elliott Bay

Casey and Sofia On Our Great Kayaking Adventure

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