Have you ever been to a professional conference?
I’ve been to several. In fact, I’m going to one tomorrow and I try to attend at least one a year.
Losing Sight of the Forest
Simply put, because we tend to lose sight of the forest of our vision while working on the trees of day to day work.
Have you read this book, Chop Wood Carry Water? The title is brilliant. Medcalf gives you a metaphor for how we accomplish big things.
Most days, we peck away at the small tasks, often without even finishing them, and it can seem pointless if we forget where we are going. It’s easy to forget that being consistent with the small things makes the big things happen.
An Example From An Unlikely Source
You know who demonstrates this principle really well?
Yes, you read that right. Chickens do an incredible job of sticking with a task until they get the desired result. Let me tell you a story …
One summer, I planted a small lettuce garden and covered it with bird netting. My idea was that the bird netting would keep my hens out. After all, it was made to resist birds and chickens are birds, right?
All summer long, the chickens tried to get in. First, they tried to walk through the netting. When that didn’t work, they scratched at the netting.
The lettuce grew and they got more and more interested in the challenge. They stuck with it. Gradually, they realized they had more success scratching at the netting where it met the ground. Occasionally, they could eat a stray leaf that was growing along the edge.
A month or two later, the lettuce was ready to harvest, but I was a little bit busy and put it off for a day or two.
Guess what happened.
That’s right! After at least six weeks of trying, one chicken had pulled up part of the netting in the process of scratching. The whole flock got in and ate the lettuce.
They ate all the lettuce. I didn’t get one leaf.
Be Like the Chickens
So what if I found two of them trapped in the garden, squawking their little heads off, when I went out there? They weren’t concerned with what would happen after they ate the lettuce. Chickens are very single-minded.
And so we should be too, if we want to accomplish anything. Consistency, focus and action win the day every time.
Combating Boredom and Staying Focused
Let’s get back to the professional conference now.
If we’re going to be single-minded like the chickens, pecking away at the tasks most likely to produce the results we want, it’s easy to lose sight of the goal.
Conferences remind you of the goal. They remind you that you’re not just one hen scratching at the netting, with limited results.
You’re part of something bigger. You’re part of a vision, a profession, a community.
Poultry don’t need conferences. They already have a community and their profession (scavenging for food) is in their DNA.
Humans, on the other hand, have more options. It’s a blessing and a curse because we can accomplish great things, but it’s also easy to get bored and go to another new idea.
Want to stay focused? Then take action to make sure you don’t lose sight of your vision. If conferences aren’t your thing, read a book or take a class. Let other people’s experiences inspire you to dream.
Unless you’re a chicken. In that case, just keep doing what you’re doing.