13th May 2014

Ray’s motto for maintaining perspective when things go wrong…


Who is Ray you might ask? Well he’s many things; the much loved rescue pet of our CEO and his family, and our sometimes office dog. Ray is a born performer with that inbuilt “Chihuahuability” to stand on his hind legs for hours at a time and entertain for the sole purpose of separating you from your lunch. He’s even up for it with the vegetarians in the office. Undeterred, he believes that there is always the promise of a cheesy morsel somewhere in all that greenery.

The local attraction both here when he visits the local coffee shop in the CBD for a doggychinno, and at Avalon Surf Life Saving Club on Patrol doing his bit  – sadly dressed sometimes for these outings in outfit’s so unbecoming of such a masculine little chap. It’s important to have a picture in your mind of the little guy as I reveal Ray’s Motto; it will help you imagine what he does; doesn’t hesitate but actually does, to tackle the age old challenge of messing up.

Rays motto: “If I produce a pile of crap, I kick some grass over it, and move on.”

He’s happily moving on seconds after the deed, with little remorse or a sideways looks. So why is it so hard for us to do the same? In my lifetime where we have produced some real steamers… if only we had Ray’s brave public face? Instead we worry about what others think, fail to find the good parts in what we had produced and dwell on that particular mess for far too long.  We have this overly perfectionistic expectation that we shouldn’t make a mistake, and the time we do, we tend to dwell on it. We examine it from all angles; we analyse and we worry. At times, we even turn it from a mistake into a catastrophe. Not Ray. No. Never. He kick’s some grass over it, and marches forward. Then afterwards, he mostly just goes home, and goes back to bed.

We recently used Ray’s Motto as a way of helping some participant’s transition back to their work place after a particularly challenging Human Resources Leadership program. Our hypotheses was that without a conscious effort to think about how you might tackle the changes you want to make in your world, you might easily lose your perspective. Returning too enthusiastically and ready to make changes, can leave those around you confused. Their reaction can be to challenge you on “where did all this come from?” and leave you feeling isolated.

Keeping your balance as you transition can be helped enormously by thinking through questions, like; “How willing am I to change? Whose opinions will I listen to and perhaps whose opinions I shouldn’t? What can do quickly and what should be left till later?” And finally: “Is the business ready for the new me?”
 It was a brilliant and open conversation about maintaining perspective from these incredibly clever and capable future leaders, terrifically timed they then asked “so what happens when things don’t go well, or I mess up?”

And so it became one of the most teachable moments of that leadership program, the wisdom of Ray and his motto. After that lesson, we didn’t even need the words when things went wrong on the program – just a little shuffling of the feet, a slight lift of each and a shake …. then we moved on!

Linda Howarth
Joint Managing Director – The Talent Workshop

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