Remember those early morning walks or runs where you unassumedly get a spider web across your face? That’s what can happen when you are the first to walk the path.
Last morning in the bush, I had a group of women taking off at the same time as me, but as they were walking, I got to the water at the bottom of the track first. As I was zen-ing at the water, they caught up and with a smile told me that I had missed a spider web, a web I should have cleared. They thought they were safe with me in front of them, probably didn’t look out for them – and this one they caught, head first.
It’s a great metaphor: how we catch spider webs for those who follow in our footsteps. That morning my limited height (160 cm on a good day) came in handy – or maybe it was the one where I ducked to let the spider keep its well-earned beautiful work. So, that web they had to take.
Where are you trotting new paths? There will be spider webs that get in your face. You can hold up a stick, but some you just don’t see coming. And after the initial surprise, you’re fine and keep going. Maybe other people and teams purposely stay a step behind you to lessen the risk? Walking with a hand or stick up in front of you may look funny, but it’s kind of comforting to let your hand instead of your face take the sticky encounter.
You can make your journey more predictable – which systems flow or routines have you installed to avoid unnecessary spider webs in your business and life? Do you have the sticks in place you need?
And let’s take it further: what if you didn’t care? Ran at full speed laughing with every spider web encounter. If you had no fear. If you set yourself free and explored what and who you would be if you couldn’t get it wrong – if you went at full steam, no protecting hand in front?
As I say at the start of client sessions: this is a judgement free zone, no right or wrong. In business and in life it’s important to sometimes explore what you COULD do – if you didn’t hold yourself back. And accept the parts of the journey where you feel better being the follower.
Whether you’re following in someone else’s footsteps or carving out a new path at the moment – be ready to take some spider webs. After the initial surprise, it can be brushed off and you keep going. You wouldn’t want to do a U-turn just to avoid it, would you? Or stay home to feel safe?