The Empowering Stone
Updated: Mar 27, 2018
A few years ago, I left a project meeting feeling disheartened. Actions that had been agreed to be completed by those involved on the project had not been done, and this was not the first time. They were all more experienced and senior, and I had no formal authority over them. I had tried different approaches and tactics to ‘win them over’, helping them to understand the importance of the tasks needing to be done, offering to support them to complete them, ensuring agreement of the time frames and that they had all the right materials needed. But another meeting had occurred with no shift.
As I was sitting at my desk feeling that they had chosen the wrong person for the PM job and that I would never achieve any progress, another senior colleague who had been in the meeting entered the room. She looked at me and smiled, held out her hand and said “I want to give you something”. I opened my hand and accepted the gift, a smooth, cream coloured stone, which filled the centre of my palm. My colleague then said “feel the surface of the stone”. I discovered that the edges of the stone were not completely rounded, there were hollows in the surface. “You would not think that water was more powerful than stone, but look what it was able to do, over time” she said.
I thanked her and reflected on her words. That stone lived on my desk and whenever I felt disheartened, I felt the surface of the stone and thought of the water and the influence it had over time. And through persistence, self-reflection and growing the approaches in my toolbox, I did have a positive influence on that team and we hit major home runs. The stone continues to this day to remind me of what I can achieve, and the immense value of mentors in life.