Letting Go of the T-Bar

Skiier on T-Bar

In the shower this morning (where all great thinking happens) I found myself wondering about when the right time was to let go of the bar …

            When I was growing up we often spent the winter weekends skiing.  For a few years (due to a new marriage) there were four boys in our family.  Skiing was a great way to occupy everyone while learning an athletic skill and spending all that youthful energy.  There were several kinds of lifts and tows up the hill, one of them being the T-bar.  A T-bar is a long metal (usually aluminum) pole on a shock absorber spring that you put behind your backside to slide you up a little trail to the top of the ski slope.  The “T” part of the bar referred to the fact that the seat allows for two people to get pulled up the slope side by side.  Inevitably, at some time in one’s skiing career, if you go often enough, there are T-bar mishaps.  People lose their attention and slip off the trail, someone falls off and leads to a pile up before the operator can stop the lift, or the seat slips to the point where you can’t fix it and you must abandon the T and wait for the next one to come by or sometimes have someone ski to you to help you get back on.  The process can be quite scary, as the skis refuse to cooperate, and you eventually lose your grip—literally.  It is also a little embarrassing, but common enough that it shouldn’t ruin your day

            In the shower this morning (where all great thinking happens) I found myself wondering about when the right time was to let go of the bar, not just in skiing, but in general, both business and personal things that keep dragging me along toward some inevitable goal that I may or may not still be invested in accomplishing.  The idea that I always choose the right path toward a desired goal, or even the right goal, is of course unrealistic perfectionism (tautology intended).  A colleague of mine, Molly Grisham, writes a wonderful blog where she shares wins and losses in her career as a coach’s coach.  She might prefer a different name, like executive coach or leadership facilitator, but she does a lot of work with athletic departments and organizations, so I like to think of her as a coach’s coach.  This week her topic had to do with an event she had planned for a specific target group in mind, and when the audience changed, she realized her prepared material was a bad match for those in attendance. (I would encourage you to read her post here.)  It made me stop and wonder what I would do in those circumstances, and whether it might be a time to let go of the T-bar.

            In a broader sense, getting up every morning with the same set of goals and tasks has its advantages.  Life is predictable in such a routine.  But when it starts to drag you down (or in any direction you don’t want to go) then it might be time to let go.  Often in my role as a consultant I use the example of the top ten legal clients you might want to turn away.  As an attorney you learn which potential clients are a good match and those whom you would be better off without.    Letting go of the T-bar is a little scary.  There is a loud clang usually, the people around you notice if you have not done it gracefully (say to get off at a trail crossing) and several times I have had the wooden seat come by and smack me in the face or the head.  While I do not recommend the process, there is always a time to let go, and the faster you figure it out, the less it will hurt when the time comes.

            Currently I am working on about a dozen different initiatives (as I call them) and each of them takes time and attention.  Balancing all these projects is what I’m good at, so I can get carried away into thinking I can take on even more because I can continue to schedule my way to success.  But every now and then, like this morning, I need to stop scheduling and take inventory of where I’m going and whether each of these initiatives are worth the time and effort I spend on them.  I love writing, so I’ll keep those projects.  I don’t really like chasing people down, so I may stay away from that more in the future.  I want to be a good mentor and encourage those who are my friends and clients, but I do put a limit to the lengths I’m willing to go to give a compliment or share a win. 

How about you?  Do you have times when you need to let go of the T-bar?  Please feel free to share your story and your own times that letting go of the T-bar has left you bruised, but that much better for it.

Henry Lyons is the owner of Finestkind Web Design, LLC  in Dresden, Maine. He can be reached at finestkindwd@gmail.com, or through his website www.fineskindwebdesign.com.

Making better decisions: why I do what I do.

“Quite often when I meet with someone in my office (either in person or virtually) the conversation ranges into areas which were not necessarily on the agenda for the meeting. This is because I am not afraid to pose questions.”

Decision making – Finestkind can help you make the best business decision for your future.

Having helped many people get through one of the toughest periods in their lives—be it divorce, prison, death of a loved one, terminal illness, or financial disaster, the best service I can offer to others is a method to help them avoid bad decisions and to make good ones.  What makes me an expert in this area?  I have a wealth of experience one-on-one, in groups and in formal proceedings about how to accomplish exactly that: I help people make better decisions. 

The concept is simple:

  1. Recognize where you are in life or in the decision-making process.
  2. Seek out the opinions of others who might have a better perspective than you on the situation.
  3. Take the time you need to make a balanced, and realistic plan.
  4. Have the courage to follow though.

These steps, in business or matters of the heart, honor your own specific needs and process, giving you the space you need to decide as opposed to react.  The first step, recognizing that there is a choice to be made, is often the most elusive.  Being in a group, such as a mastermind or an ongoing consulting relationship, can be a blessing for the opportunity you receive to step back and evaluate options before you either run out of time or resources.  Someone is there to listen to you, to pay attention to your challenges and frustrations, and to give you an opening to stop and be deliberate about your next move.  Hindsight is 20-20, but what about those who have the benefit of experience, expertise, and perseverance in their lives?  This is what I try to bring to the table every time a client sits down with me to discuss a new idea or find the solution to a problem. 

Quite often when I meet with someone in my office (either in person or virtually) the conversation ranges into areas which were not necessarily on the agenda for the meeting.  This is because I am not afraid to pose questions.  It is important to understand the problem if I am truly to be of help.  For example, if someone comes to me asking for a website, I want to know what they expect from it.  I ask who their intended audience is, and what steps they are willing to take to promote it.  I have often used the metaphor of putting a book in the library.  Making the website is like publishing a book, that no one will look at without proper promotion.  There is a myriad of tools at my disposal as a social media marketer, but each case needs personal attention to detail to be effective.  There are many right and wrong decisions available.  Consider setting a meeting up with me to let me do what I like to do best, help you make better decisions.  I look forward to your call.