Going With The Flow
I recently read an article in which the author recounted his experience with a hot air balloon ride. Now I’ve never ridden in a hot air balloon, so I’m trusting that his account is at least fairly accurate. After becoming airborne, he started asking the pilot a few questions about their journey. One aspect of the trip that was beginning to cause him some degree of consternation was regarding how they would get back to their starting point, since they were being carried along at a rather rapid pace by a brisk south wind. So this was right at the top of his list of questions for the pilot.
The pilot’s answer was that the wind does not blow uniformly at all altitudes. The trick is to discover the winds direction and speed at differing altitudes and simply raise or lower the balloon to catch a ride in the right direction.
The point of the article was that many people live their lives that way, simply following the path of least resistance or “going with the flow.” It occurred to me that what I often encounter with dentists when beginning the consulting process is that this is the strategy they have been following throughout most of their careers. And even though now stating that they know it is time to change some things, all too often they revert to the same old, more comfortable ways of doing things as soon as they possibly can. This makes me think of the oft-quoted definition of insanity: Doing the same things over and over again while expecting a different result.
Now I’m not targeting dentists as the only ones who fall into this behavior pattern. I believe nearly all of us are guilty of it to one degree or another. But I also know from my own life experience that most of the time when I grow in any of my various “roles” (husband, father, business owner, employer, leader, mentor, etc.) it is because I refused to just “go with the flow”. I was willing to step out of my comfort zone and do something new and challenging.
I can also tell you that sometime difficult circumstances, actions or events that are totally outside of your ability to control, will occur or combine to FORCE YOU to get out of your comfort zone. Mostly we remember these challenges, struggles, trials, and adversities as painful times, either emotionally or physically (sometimes both). But as junior high and high school coaches everywhere will remind us: No Pain, No Gain.
Think back over your life and see if you don’t agree with me. Most of the time we accomplish something worthwhile, something that really makes a difference in our lives and the lives of those we care about, it’s due to us not following the path of least resistance, not settling for just going with the flow.
So what do you need to be changing right now? What is that thing in your life, either business or personal, where you would like to be seeing a different result? It’s not too late to start. Start today. Stop “going with the flow”. Step out of your comfort zone. Make something happen. There is the easy way and the way that takes effort. The way of greater effort almost always yields the greatest rewards. Which way will you choose?