For weeks we practice – we meet and discuss our game plan, our strategy. We go over in minute detail what our goal is going to be for the upcoming game – how can we keep the ball moving forward and reach the end zone? Reviewing past games where things didn’t go so well, listening to excuses for why the ball was fumbled and nodding to assurances it won’t happen again. You’re prepared, the coach gave the pep talk, the players are anxious to get started.
You line up on the field – everyone on their toes ready to go. You do the hard count:
32 – 57 – Left – HUT HUT
You watch, seemingly in slow motion as the ball leaves the center and you grip it in your fingers… pull back to look downfield.
boom… all your players have turned into chickens and they’re just bobbing their heads up and down looking for feed in the turf… that player you asked to go long? they’re just standing there looking at you, occasionally balking at you *bawk* *bawk*
you try to herd your team forward, urging them to go towards the goal… but they run from you and from each other
“Where are you going?” you ask but they just keep bobbing up and down, rustling their feathers… then you try to lead them, maybe they’ll follow you like lemmings… but no…
bawk, bawk, bawk, baaaaaawwwwwwwkkkk
The other day faced with yet another sponsee dragging their feet on Step 8 and co-workers who seemingly have no capacity to hold on to information from even a moment ago… I called my sponsor to whine.
My sponsor, in all his wisdom, suggested sponsoring people and training people is kind of like herding chickens (which said out loud could be mis-heard as “hurting chickens” which is probably kinky in some circles… but I digress). You can’t really get the chickens to line up in orderly rows, salute when you blink or even read your mind…
But you can show them where the food is, feed them small pieces of knowledge that was shared with you to get where you are today… It can be frustrating, as that one chicken is going to be doing its own little “sky is falling” chant in the corner, ignoring whatever it may be you’re trying to get them to see… and it can be a case of them not wanting to try something that might hurt them, or new and frightening… My job is not to step on the eggs… no matter how much I want to… (I would create a time machine, go back in time before the chickens hatched and jump up and down on them until I had a huge omelet that would get me a place in the Guinness book of world records)
My job… sometimes I wonder what that is… My job, is to lead and hope they follow. My job is to show up early, do the things I was taught to do as best I can, ask for help when I need it, pitch in when others need it, be goal oriented, stay late when necessary and – sometimes most importantly – remain hopeful.
I remain hopeful that the chickens that surround me may some day hatch a jedi knight – can’t you just picture a little golden chick with a light-saber… that goes off to lead the republic in an epic battle, scoring touchdowns by passing the ball to wide open receivers… how can you not see that guy, he’s all but flashing a neon sign…
It’s possible I’ve seen too much football and not gotten enough sleep. I just re-read this… yeah, maybe it’s bed time