Thursday, April 2, 2009


I am incredibly aware of noise this morning. Outside my home office I hear leaf blowers (a sign of spring, sadly). In the wall next to my desk I hear a water pipe humming. The radiator in my office is making a random "ping" noise. There are pleasant bird chirps competing with another leaf blower that just started from a different direction. My dog just barked. Noise.

The noise this morning is making me a bit tense. It is distracting me from the tasks I plan to do today because my focus is off (I like the bird chirps though). I'm a little fixated at the moment.

Noise as metaphor: I have things I need and want to do and I am distracted by the "noise" of interruptions, at times unreliable technology, too few additional hands to help, funds. This noise creates some tension, some impatience, a longing for it to end so I can resume what's important to me. I want to feel a sense of accomplishment by achieving a firm result; squishy half-results are okay but I don't feel fully satisfied, successful.

Think of your goals for a moment. What does your achievement process look like? You have a sense of the result you are trying to achieve. What does that accomplishment and celebration look like? Good. Now go back to the goals and add noise. Your computer crashed. Your grant application was rejected. A board member resigned. Your child is sick and has to miss school. You lost your job/manager/funding/client, etc. Noise. What do you notice now? What do you make up about this noise and your ability to advance toward your goal? If we accept that noise will always be there, and noise leads to distraction, and distraction keeps us from fully achieving the desired result, are we ever really successful? Are we okay with just being okay?

What's your noise reduction (or elimination)

P.S. Silence... the leaf blowers have left the neighborhood. My heart is slowing and the birds are delighting me. I can actually hear the tide out my now open window. Noise interferes with my sense of order, how I prioritize, how I sequence tasks. It can throw me off. I'm having some insight...I'll get back to you on this.