The Art of Holding a Construction Sign

Today, I drove through a construction zone and I couldn’t help but notice that the worker in charge of holding the slow/stop sign looked like he hated his life.  He was looking over at the workers who were doing actual construction, and I swear I could see longing in his eyes to be doing “real” work.  (I was driving 15 MPH, I had time to analyze his feelings).

It got me thinking about the Olympian bench warmers I’ve been seeing this week.  You know, the ones who made it to the Games but didn’t make the cut in qualifiers; the ones who stay in their warm ups and cheer on their teammates but never compete?  Some of them seem so genuinely excited just to be a part of all of the pomp and circumstance of the Olympics, and genuinely excited for their succeeding teammates.  (Except for maybe the women gymnasts – they give hate hugs).

Which lead me to thinking about my own life, and the moments when I’m on the sidelines in a supportive role rather than a leadership role.  I like dreaming, and strategic planning, and implementation, and analyzing, and tweaking.  I like leading and talking to groups and facilitating discussions.  But sometimes, a more qualified person or higher paid person or better leader is in the mix, and I get to take a backseat. 

Sometimes I’m good at supporting, cheering on, and letting go of my own ideas, but sometimes, I’m more like the construction worker I passed, who is having a hard time with NOT doing the “real” work. 

This morning was a good reminder to serve and support well my teammates who are in the spotlight.  We all know a good leader has to be a good supporter, but that doesn’t means it’s always easy to practice.

What about you?  Are you good at being on the sidelines or do you crave the spotlight?

2 thoughts on “The Art of Holding a Construction Sign

  1. Sometimes it takes a change of perspective to realize that the sign-holder is important to the project. I struggle with the idea that if I am not actively engaged in the process, then I am useless. I don’t crave the spotlight, but I still want to feel useful – like I’m adding something of value. On that basis, I hated sitting on the bench when I played basketball in high school.

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