Waiting on the yellow line

I Crossed The Wrong Side Of The Line. Join Me.


I have four heroes

Well, four groups of heroes to be more accurate. In no particular order, they are:

Teachers, First Responders, The Benghazi soldiers (the real ones, not Jim from The Office – though I’d hang out and have a beer, for sure), and Seth Godin.

Before you jump in and say, “hey, Seth Godin isn’t a group”, let me suggest that the man’s blog punches so far above the industry average that he qualifies as a group, if not a small planet.

In a recent blog post, however, I found myself looking to replace Seth. Why? Seth got all fluffy and whimsical about drawing lines in the sand and how we shouldn’t fit people into boxes and how sand is just sand and how… zzzzzzz.

Now I’m not the super-brain that Seth Godin is. Accordingly, I’m not ashamed to stand before you all right now and admit I got a crushing headache trying to figure out whether Seth had a crushing headache when he wrote the post. But after a few Advil and a little lie-down, it became clear that I just plain disagreed with Seth. Indeed, I believe:

We don’t draw lines in the sand enough!

Here’s Seth’s post, entitled Drawing a Line in the Sand

There are two real problems with this attitude:

First, drawing lines. Problems aren’t linear, people don’t fit into boxes. Lines are not nuanced, flexible or particularly well-informed. A line is a shortcut, a lazy way to deal with a problem you don’t care enough about to truly understand. Most of all, drawing a line invites the other person to cross it.

Second, the sand. Sand? Really? If you’re going to draw a line, if you’re truly willing to go to battle, you can do better than sand.

Here’s  my view

Problems can be linear. Weight. Speed. Calories per day. Sales per hour.

People are easy to put into boxes. The “two-percent”, the Myers-Briggs INTJs, the Kappa Kappa Gammas, the MBAs, the parents, the millennials, the chardonnay socialists, Packers fans.

Lines are always nuanced and “well-informed” – it’s just a question of parameters. Lines are flexible.

But the best parts are yet to come.

A line can indeed describe a shortcut, and the right shortcuts – relentlessly practiced – are THE way to success. Shortcuts aren’t cheating, though many readers’ minds jump to that conclusion whenever they hear “shortcut”.

Lines bring awareness. Yes, Seth, drawing a line invites the other person to cross it. But a line is actually far more powerful as an invitation to oneself. Which side of the line are you on?

Want that promotion? Want that new client? Draw a line between you and the key habit that decreases your performance, or distracts you.

As for the sand itself, I say it’s a perfect medium in which to draw lines with your finger, play, build and even battle. It’s totally organic, and you never have to look far to find some. You can also wear Speedos and not be totally out of place.

Actually, nah. That’s a line I’m not willing to cross.

About me

Boyd Falconer

Boyd Falconer

People have described Boyd Falconer as a secret weapon for navigating success. He specializes in coaching executives, entrepreneurs, athletes and celebrities.

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