I live in Western Massachusetts where it’s not unusual to encounter wildlife like foxes, deer, bears and other creatures. But I was pretty surprised to drive down a street in Boston last weekend and find four turkeys in the middle of a small intersection.
These birds are slow to act, and it took a minute or two for the group to disperse so we could continue on our way. We were heading to a concert and were in a hurry, and we felt that twinge of impatient impulse to honk and try to scare them off. But we didn’t do that. We waited quietly instead and just watched them.
This week many of us will be dining on one of their fellow kind as we get together with family and friends to celebrate a day of giving thanks. But last weekend we shared the road with these birds for those brief minutes.
I’m not talking about this because I think we deserve credit for being patient or kind to animals. It just struck me that in that moment of surprise we dropped our worry about being late and let something unexpected take its course.
It was just an appreciation of something surprising– and there are many of them every day, I suspect – when we can simply relax and let whatever is happening be more important than our drive to get wherever we’re going.
In sales, in business, and in life, there are no shortages of obstacles that unexpectedly block our way: a last minute budget cut, new rules for quotas, guerrilla sales tactics from the opposition, turkeys in the middle of the road when we’re late for a show.
We learn to manage these difficulties but we can’t always be on top of every situation. Sometimes the best course of action is no action – just taking a few moments to wait, be curious and feel content instead of anxious.
Even when we’re short on time, money, or prospects in the pipeline, we could let our preconceived mindsets fade to the background and lean in to the world with fresh interest and curiosity.
We could even train our minds to desire what the situation demands. Like waiting for those silly turkeys to waddle out of the way.