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Don’t Let the Little Things Hold You Back

By Joey Havens

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Recently, at HORNE’s Leadership Summit in Dallas, TX, I was up early preparing for my address to our firm and I ran into a small barrier. An unforeseen barrier that was probably due to my excitement, lack of being observant and simply being nervous about the event.

As I was practicing my comments, I also ordered a pot of coffee to the room. After finishing a practice session, I went over to pour a much deserved hot cup of coffee whose aroma was filling the air—I love the smell of coffee. I picked up the silver coffee pot and began to pour myself a steaming hot cup of coffee. To my dismay, the coffee barely trickled out and ran in different directions making a quite a mess. So assuming without really looking, I gave the silver top a little twist to open the lid and tried again. Same result—very little coffee hit the bottom of my cup. 

Now I get it, you must need to push down on the silver lever and that opens up the coffee lid. So I reached up with my thumb and firmly pushed down on the silver lever. I noticed that it did not move very much but with the pressure on, I began to see a little more coffee flow.  The problem was it was still spraying everywhere. I now had about a fourth a cup of coffee and a terrible mess on the counter. I really needed to have one more focused practice session and this was not part of my plan.

But determined to get my full cup of coffee, I kept messing with the top. It must be one of those tricky twist tops and I just didn’t get it right the first time, I thought. As I grabbed the top of the coffee pot, I realized I was not seeing what was right in front of me—it had saran wrap around the top to help keep it hot. Yes, I was really embarrassed in the moment but thankfully alone in my room. I removed the saran wrap and poured a nice smooth and piping hot cup of coffee.

I laughed at myself as I realized how blind I was to what should have been very obvious and was certainly right in front of me. I reflected on how fortunate I was that no one saw this bumbling series of coffee spills.  So why would I blog about it?  I’m asking myself that question a lot right now. 

Each of us has little things in our career and in our personal lives that hold us back—that cause us to create messes rather than impact. It’s the little things that so often derail us.  Most of us have lived through a mess at work or at home that was simply the result of being blind to a little thing that disrupted everything.  Little things that we should see but don’t.   Little things that we ASSUME are little but they aren’t to others!  Little things that we would know about if we simply looked closely or asked for feedback. 

What is the saran wrap that’s holding me back from my full potential? I’m going to take a closer look and also ask my team members to help me know what my little things are. Where are your little things? #beEvenBetter