The Thoughtful Leader

Winter Thoughts

A few days ago it started to snow in the late afternoon here in western Massachusetts. It was almost dark, and the light flakes came down steadily, slowing traffic, and coating cars, sidewalks, and pedestrians with a fine clean dusting. We got a robo call from City Hall telling us to go home and stay there until the storm was over, so we lit a fire and settled in for the evening with good books and hot cider.
It was still snowing next morning and didn’t fully stop until the middle of the day, when we had an almost two foot accumulation. Winter had truly arrived and it was looking beautiful outdoors. By this time our puppy badly needed exercise, so we suited up, grabbed our cross-country skis, and headed for the trail by the Mill River.
Lumbering through drifts and down the steep embankment that led to the trail, we arrived at the river’s edge and soon realized that other intrepid souls had beaten us to it. Neat parallel ski tracks as well as the footprints of many hiking boots cut through the snow along the river. We weren’t the first to venture out and we wouldn’t be the last.
When the puppy was free of her leash, she bounded forward along the trail and up into the tall trees, searching for squirrels and other dogs to play with. We slower humans clamped on our ski bindings, trying to decide whether to join the parallel ski tracks of those who had preceded us or to make a new trail. Sliding along in someone else’s tracks is always easier, but often those tracks don’t go exactly where you may want to go.
We made both choices that day, stepping into the smooth tracks of others when we were anxious about the steepness of the trail, and forging our own path when we were more relaxed and confident. We enjoyed ourselves greatly in the process.
Could there be a metaphor here for how we function in the work place during anxious or not-so-anxious times? Of course it is usually easier for most people to be followers, to slide in someone else’s tracks, especially when things are a bit tense at the office, and often that is the wisest decision. But when do we decide to choose a different path, to head in our own direction? When do we think through the options and choose a path that isn’t necessarily the easiest, but may get us more directly where we (and our business) need to go?
In this New Year, as so many unknown paths and unexpected turns lie ahead of us, I encourage you to choose your course with confidence, imagination, bravery, and a sense of adventure.
Katharine Gratwick Baker, PhD


One Thought on “Winter Thoughts

  1. Very good blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any recommendations? Cheers!

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