There is a story about a church group trying to move a grand piano from one room to another. None were professional movers, and the task of moving the heavy instrument seemed nearly impossible. Everybody knew that the task required not only physical strength but also careful coordination. There were plenty of ideas, but no matter what they tried, they could not keep the piano balanced correctly. They repositioned by strength and height, tried more people on one side and then the other—nothing worked.
As they stood around the piano, uncertain of what to do next, someone spoke up. She said: “Stand close together and lift where you stand.”
It seemed too simple. Nevertheless, each lifted where they stood, and the piano rose from the ground and moved as if under its own power. That was the answer to the challenge. They merely needed to stand close together and lift where they stood.
Lifting where we stand is a principle of power. It refers to grasping the opportunities to do good that lie right in front of us every day. Many people struggle with this idea. Some seek to have more power to effect change before they “do anything special”. Others seek to postpone getting involved in anything, typically saying they are too busy. “Someday I will get more involved” is their mantra.
I can attest to the fact that we do not gain magical powers to get things done as our authority increases, nor does “more time” magically materialize as our lives roll on.
The best way to feel that you are doing important things with your life is to grasp the opportunities that present themselves daily.
Of course, grasping every opportunity to do good things can quickly overload us and stress us out. There is a preliminary step and that is knowing what matters most to you. Knowing your purpose is the first step; grasping the opportunities that present themselves daily to feed that purpose is the second.
For me, writing this blog is an example of lifting where I stand. I believe that all leaders have a responsibility to be the best leaders they can be. Sharing what I learn is also important to me. Writing this blog weekly for all these years is one way I live my beliefs.
Doing things that move our purpose along and spending less time on less meaningful things (like staying up-to-date on Facebook or binge-watching Netflix) are the keys to feeling we are doing important things and pursuing a life of meaning.
Great leaders believe, among other things, in making sure that expectations are clear; that the right people are in the right places; that performance problems are dealt with quickly; that it is important to keep everyone focused on getting the job done well, and to tie it all together with a culture that keeps things interesting. Everyday opportunities will always present themselves to move the needle in your leadership priorities, and every day is the time to lift where you stand.