A Lesson From the Fly
Have you ever sat inside your home on a warm day in a comfy chair beside a window and watched a fly trapped on the inside trying to get outside?
We hear the buzzing of the fly as it bounces back and forth, then up and down on the window continuing to enthusiastically throw itself against the glass hoping against all hope to miraculously get out of that window to freedom. It keeps doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result than it has experienced on every previous occasion. Sadly for the fly, these extraordinary efforts typically result in its death on the window sill.
Someone once described insanity as doing the same thing over and over again hoping for different results.
On the one hand you have to hand it to the fly: it’s working hard and it’s persevering. It is relentless.
On the other hand, it does not stop to assess its situation to determine whether its efforts are achieving the desired results. It is working harder, but not smarter. Its refusal to change perspective and strategy results in its ultimate demise.
Does anything there sound familiar?
How often do we as leaders keep doing the same things over and over again hoping to get different results than we have been consistently getting? Yes, we need to persevere with a strategy and work hard to accomplish our goals. No, we cannot give up too easily when it gets hard.
However, neither can we blindly move forward without measuring progress. There comes a point in time when we need to take a step back and review the situation. We need to look at it from a different perspective and assess if we are making any progress – if the progress we desire is potentially around the corner – or if we need to stop doing what we are doing and get honest with ourselves. Get honest enough to say that what we are doing is not working, so we need to do it differently, or do something different.
And, just because you have been working really hard at a particular strategy that isn’t producing the desired results, doesn’t mean you need to give up on the desired results.
Stop, change your perspective, get some input from others and then implement a different strategy.
Too often we give up on the desired result instead of developing a new strategy.
Remember the fly, there is nothing wrong with the desired result to be free, but it’s not going to happen by slamming into the window. Fly around a bit to see if opportunity arises in another area of the house. Talk to some other flies to find out how they got in, and that will lead to the way out.
So, the question is, where in your life and in your leadership are you being a fly?
Where have you been relentlessly pursuing an objective without making any headway?
Stop. Get a new perspective. Take a look at the situation from another vantage point and you may discover a whole new way to accomplish your desired result.
And, most importantly, get input from others. Talk to people who know you and understand the nature of your situation. Talk to your ‘Council of Wise Friends’ – and if you don’t have one, then put one together. Ask some wise friends if they are willing to act as a personal board of advisers.
Leadership and life is best done in community within a group of peer advisers.
Once you have a new perspective and input from others, then put together your new strategy and get back to work. Work harder and work smarter.
The beginning of the year is a great time to reassess areas of our life and leadership to determine if we are making headway doing what we are doing. If not, then get a new perspective, get input from others, put a new strategy together, and keep persevering.
Learn a lesson from the fly – don’t end up dead on the window sill.