Pulling the Bowstring of Purpose

24 04 2012


There are days when I seem to start out with great intentions.  I’ve got a plan. I’ve had the shower epiphany.  Ideas are following. The whole team is at work today and stuff is going to get done.  It’s a wave of progress.  Yet for some unknown reason I miss the target completely.  I don’t just miss the bull eye… I miss all the concentric circles that surround the mark.

Well, I let me be really honest.  I don’t miss… My arrow never even reaches the block of cratered styrofoam the paper goal is stuck on. I have failed to pull the bowstring of purpose back far enough.  

There are lots of reasons people sometimes fail in this effort.  For me, it’s often fear. Fear that my choices are flawed in some minor way.  That the end result will not reach my expectations.  So, I don’t pull back on the bowstring enough.  

An adage that I have had in my mental pocket since the week my oldest son turned one is, “Pull the trigger and ride the bullet.” I’ve recalled that note out nearly every week of my life for the last 13 years.  I heard it from one of my favorite teachers, Roy Williams. He was replaying a story about a friend of his named Tony, who seemed to keep making bad decisions.  Roy was amazed that even though Tony kept bombing, he never really seemed to be discouraged by his failures and he NEVER pointed his finger at anyone in an effort to blame.  Instead he would look to the heavens and say, “I pulled the trigger and rode the bullet.”

As a leader I’ve consistently applied this lesson.  When I green light the project, I’m responsible for the outcome. No matter what the bullet hits.  

Now before I mix the metaphors too much, let me be clear.  It’s one thing to pull the trigger.  It’s quite another to pull a bowstring.  Like applying pressure to piano key, the intent is the critical inch.

There are times in our lives when we love the plan.  We are granted a long range vision of what the future holds and we have buy in from those around us.  At that point there is no doubt we are able, and maybe more importantly, willing to pull back on the bowstring to it’s perfect zenith.  We have and know a purpose in those times.

There are other times when something is just not right.  Time has rushed up on us and action has to be taken.  We’re not really happy with the plan and we can’t really fine tune the the means.  It’s at that point when we, most often sub-consciencely, stop ourselves from pulling back the bowstring far enough. An arrow flies and as soon as it leaves the bow… you know.  If was golf, you would walking to the cart to grab the sand wedge. If it was basketball, you’d yell AIR.  If it was baseball, you’d be already be asking the ump for a clean ball.

Finding the purpose is the key. Great intent is applied only after purpose is recognized.  

What’s the real purpose of the project you are working on today?  Are you ready to pull the bowstring to the  zenith?



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