Once there lived a man, a man like no other before him or since. This man was made completely out of air. No bones, no skin, no vital organs pumping and digesting. Only air.
Although his very nature made him somewhat unique, those who lived, worked and interacted with him didn’t seem to pay any particular attention to him. Most days as he breezed into work, he felt like his boss and co-workers looked straight through him.
“Maybe I just need to blow my way into discussions?” he wondered.
His comments on group projects rarely seemed to rustle the pages of anyone’s work portfolio. His input seemed to whisk right past other staff unnoticed. At times he felt unimportant, ignored and, well, invisible.
As the weeks, months and years dragged on, his anger grew until finally it reached a tempest level. The only time anyone ever seemed to acknowledge his existence were those rare occasions where his blustering might leave a bit of mess behind it. So if a storm cloud was the only way to get people to pay attention, then a storm cloud is what he would give them.
After being repeatedly ignored and passed over, his anger and frustration had built up like an angry spring cyclone. An eruption of epic proportions ensued. In the aftermath of his eruption others were quick to point out the storm damage in his wake he left behind. Although they’d received a sound soaking of ideas and input from him, none of it seemed to matter to them.
The quality of his input was rain wrapped in anger and confrontation. Suddenly he had more attention than he had ever wanted, but none of it was healthy or happy.
Air Man began to question his impact or purpose in even being a part of the team. The next day as he was pondering whether or not he should blow on to the next job and start fresh, something caught his attention. He noticed another employee, quiet and demure, much like his previous self. He noticed him struggling with a project similar to one Air Man had worked on months earlier. He moved closer, and after a deep breath to steady his nerves, he asked his coworker if he could help in any way.
His fellow worker gladly responded that any and all help would be welcome. They talked for quite some time about the project, the problems and the possible solutions. Air Man offered a flurry of ideas for his new friend to consider. What had only a few short hours before seemed like a cyclone of confusion and chaos had now become calm, focused and directed.
Air Man discovered a new truth about himself. His desire to be on the blustering front edge of the company and the group had blinded him to where his real impact could lie. Rather than in the center of the spotlight leading the charge, maybe there was another way he could make a difference.
What if he could be the firm, steady force behind the sails of others? What if he could be the powerful but controlled strength that powered others, much like the spring winds move the giant blades of a wind farm? Strength to power others. Power to move others. Moving others one at a time to accomplish what they might not have been able to do without his help. He breathed a thankful sigh of contentment.
And what do his co-workers think of him now? They all say the same thing as he invests in each of them with encouragement, questions and observations that build up and inspire them: “Air Mman? He’s like a breath of fresh air.”
- Feeling like you don’t matter? Don’t give up, you do matter.
- Upset that you’ve blown it by losing your cool? Join the crowd. We all have.
- Wonder if you’ll ever have an impact on your team, your company? You will.
Look for the best place (big or small, large group or individual) to breathe life into someone else’s sails. Be that guiding force, or the cool refreshing that your input can bring. Be the breath of fresh air another person needs today.
Go be that person this week, like no one before you or since.