The Flashlight

It’s well past midnight on the 5th day of my 30-day writing challenge. Turns out that it needed to be dark outside for me to realize something helpful – an analogy for an important lesson.

Recently, I met with someone to take a big step forward in a project we’ve been working on together. I’m producing a video segment that she will use in a series of presentations on her topic of expertise to a number of public and civic groups.

I had decided that, rather than approach the meeting from the position of communications expert, I would assume that she is the authority in her subject matter, AS WELL AS the person to determine the correct approach for communicating her material to the chosen audiences.

In other words, I set personal pride aside, and determined to do my best to help her communicate the ideas she wanted to show and say…in the way ~she~ wanted to do it.

Now, I made some suggestions about her material, and we brainstormed some ideas for ways to help the message reach more people. But, for the most part, I tried to keep my “hands off” of her information. She really is an expert in her field.

Yes, I’m a communications professional. I have pride in my skills and accomplishments. But proceeding from that standpoint would have been very dangerous…

…for the success of the project. I would have run into serious opposition from my customer, and would have missed out on a rewarding experience.

pool of light from the flashlightAs I stepped outside for a moment tonight, I realized that operating from a position of confidence and pride (in this circumstance) would have been like walking in the dark, using only a flashlight to guide me. With a flashlight, everything you can see is in a small circle on the ground. You’re always looking down (on the situation and it’s players). You and can easily miss rewarding opportunities to the left or right. You can also run right into a problem at eye level, that would have been easy to avoid if you were allowing someone else…to guide you. 

Try to remember that your skills and accomplishments – however bright – only illuminate a small spot in the world. Working humbly with others, and utilizing their input, can be much better and brighter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *