Getting in Position

August 8, 2019

Besides seeming to be consistently above the “fray” my former co-worker, Pat, seemed to make some interesting and unusual observations. 

One she provided was a method for combating diminished attention spans at meetings and in classrooms.  Of course she would, as a corporate trainer. 

Pat had read that the average person can remain effectively focused for 17 minutes.   Beyond that time thoughts start wandering, cell phone distractions begin, eventually eyes may glaze a bit.  The remedy:  arise, stand for a minute or two, sit back down.  Allegedly, the posture adjustment creates an enhanced blood flow hence is an effective tool for warding off grogginess for another 15 minutes or so.   Rinse and repeat.

Pat also provided an interesting take on how people position themselves…in an elevator!  Quite frankly the subject was one that I had rarely, if ever, given much through to, however, she now had my attention.

A solo rider typically gravitates towards the elevator’s control panel and either remains there or shifts to the middle of the box.  If joined by another individual, both will often occupy a front corner.  In the event of a third party, that person becomes the triangle’s apex.  Four will form a quadrant populating each corner.  The fifth entrant takes the center position forming a quincunx (new word for the day).


Pat’s oratory about elevator riders never fails to escape my thoughts whenever taking that vertical journey, causing me to contemplate positioning even further in our interactions with friends and others, at work, in life.


First, how do you posture yourself with acquaintances?  Start with availability.  Do you have a schedule such that the unforeseen occurs or an impromptu gathering opportunity arises you can make an adjustment and join in more than occasionally?  Do you in turn reciprocate that event with a return invite?  Happily or little bit begrudgingly?


What is your emotional intelligence quotient?  How do you discern the “state” of the other person or people and whether they’re joyful or happy or if the current season of their life is a little bit rugged?  Is there a balance to the relationship? 


We have some dear friends from the early days of our adult lives in Texas.  Our friendships have held close for a third of a century.  We’ve all had our challenges, disappointments, and some of what could fairly be labeled as tragedies.  Still, they’re the type of friends who always ask first how you are and genuinely want to know.  Their questions arise from an attitude of love.  They’ll always position themselves at the kitchen sink after you’ve prepared a generous meal and clean with the heart of servant hood. 


Second, there is nothing wrong with an ambitious worker.  Becoming the top sales person, earning promotion to a position of greater responsibility, gaining the proverbial seat at the table are each worthy goals.  Whether you’re a new arrival to your leadership role or a veteran, how have you positioned yourself? 


Traditionally leaders occupy the chair at the end of a long conference room table communicating power, decisiveness, and a kind of centralized confidence.  More contemporary models may find the executive chair seated at the middle of a table connoting a position of shared responsibility and empowerment.  Some work cultures even now feature more of a “round table” configuration suggesting even greater equality and spirit of collaboration.


How would that feel to take it even one step further and eliminate the table altogether?  Or, if you have an office, move the desk to the side so that when you entertain visitors there is not the indication of a barrier or shield of “protection?”  Now that’s a message of openness, a welcoming and inviting position.    


Third, what’s your position with those who should matter most to you:  your family… yourself?  How sacred is that relationship?  Do the spouses still share a time to hold hands?  When the big families gather is there someone to coordinate a time for bunko?  Smaller get togethers might merit Yahtzee or Monopoly.  Is there a favorite TV show that seems to draw universal interest?  What personifies intimacy?


Adding to that to what degree are you and me positioning ourselves in healthy self-love, taking time to eat well, exercise, rest, read, and enjoy quiet spiritual alone time moments?  That balance you personify internally will be magnified in your countenance and will communicate to others your own health and state of wellness. 


Some thoughts and questions…for your next elevator ride.


The Seed Sower