I’ve never been a real handyman and because of that I’ve not developed the love affair with tools the way the average guy has.
That all changed this fall. My family and I moved 5 years ago into a wonderful town in Bolton, MA – a place full of beautiful forests, apple orchards, vineyards, and a surprising amount of wild turkeys and deer. Our favorite time is fall, where we enjoy watching our Japanese maple tree turn a deep red, going to the country store to pick out a fresh apple pie, playing soccer with my kids in the front yard and taking walks in the woods. Honestly, I’m not sure I can think of a better place to be than New England in October.
That is, until, I have to rake the leaves.
We have about 40 trees in various locations about our yard and they deposit what seems like a bazillion leaves on our lawn. Up until this year, I’d waste about 5-6 Saturdays a fall raking – not too intelligent a strategy, I admit. This fall I finally got wise and bought a leaf blower. My love affair with tools officially began! It’s a Husqvarna 50 cc Backpack Leaf Blower and that machine blows my leaves about 20 feet in front of me with the click of a button. It feels great to have such power in my hands, as I can literally boss those leaves all over the place and force them into the woods at my command. Yes!
One October day, my wife and I had invited guests over for dinner and I was attempting to take care of the ridiculous amount of leaves in front of my house in a 3 hour period. I began with high hopes of blasting through those leaves in no time at all, but that afternoon mother nature didn’t cooperate. As I began to blow the leaves, there were 15 mph gusts of wind, coming, of course, from the woods I was trying to blow them into.
I’d valiantly blast away, pushing the leaves furiously with my machine, only for the wind to push them back, in a nice tight spiral right back into my face. The wind would die down for a second, I’d quickly put the blower on, push the leaves towards the woods, and mother nature would chuckle and blast me with some more wind and make me eat yet another leaf sandwich.
Being persistent and stubborn I’d push and push again with the same unsuccessful strategy, each time being met with the same resistance. I started getting angrier and angrier with each attempt. Standing in the yard, steeped in frustration, I knew I couldn’t walk inside my house and quit. I took a deep breath and relaxed. Then it came to me. Now honestly, this new strategy probably would have come to the average person A LONG TIME AGO, but let’s not kill the story.
After some deep breaths it finally dawned on me, that rather than pushing the leaves directly to the woods in a straight line, I needed to get in harmony with the wind and what it was doing. So I started pushing the leaves sideways and to a slight angle and the leaves began to reluctantly cooperate. After some time, the job was finally done, and I learned an important lesson.
Whether it’s learning how to work with the wind, or learning how to work with my wife, my children, my health, or my small business, I need to be in harmony with the result I want and not force the issue. When I experience resistance in any part of my life, rather than fighting that resistance (which just brings about more of it), and using the same strategy, I need to take a moment and reflect on what I need to do differently to get into harmony with it. And when I do, great things happen.