I am a sucker for a good story. Basic story-telling should grab the listener early on, keep that person glued to the next word and then amaze and challenge to wrap it up. In the musical Into the Woods, a mish-mosh of fairy tales come together, initially in ways we would expect, but then all of it collapses around us, such challenges are presented. The pithy and wise-beyond measure granules of truth that come out of it are poignant, if not stunning at times. The baker’s wife sings “But if life were only moments, then you’d never know you had one.” The witch painfully sings “Children may not obey, but children will listen.” Or, my favorite, the Prince states, “I was raised to be charming, not sincere.”
It’s often the case that the simplest of stories can turn a head back to true north. Our gauge can be put off from purpose and passions because of the myriad of distractions in front of us. Our perspective has to be re-adjusted. We need to wake up. Sometimes, a trip to the woods is exactly what is needed.
Whether for a business or for an individual, this journey is one to be taken every so often. What can the challenges that come with walking through a different set of scenery do for you? Think about your company. What if you had three people walk in, at times you didn’t know, when you were not there, and then report back what they observed. Would there be value in that? Of course! The meadow that you think you’re lunching in may turn out to be full of thorns (or at least have some thorny patches).
Perhaps it is wise to walk into a competitor’s location and observe. You know, shop or use their services, but really just be there to take it all in. Sound deceptive? Nah. The great car makers bought cars from competitors. Mr. Gimbel shopped in Macy’s once in a while. It’s good. It’s profitable.
As individuals, the same push is there for us. Are we walking in the woods? Have I settled for complacency? Another line from Into the Woods is “you’re not good, you’re not bad, you’re just nice.” How awful! Listen, I think I am a pretty good guy, but I would rather have someone hate me than just think I am nice…bleck!
With a new year upon us, what will you do to travel the path towards a new view, a new status, a new scene? I could give you a hundred ideas, but the point is to start the journey. Those doors will open. The pathway will become clearer. You will run into wolves, witches, princes and giants. All of them will help you to see who you are and who you want to strive to be. The inspiration comes not only from those feel-good moments, but also from those moments of despair and tragedy.
Businesses must be sharp and ready. People must be challenged and pushed. We have each other. Walk the path with someone. Don’t fear. Go to the woods!