Lessons from an inchworm

This inchworm knew that if he kept moving forward he would reach his destination.

This inchworm knew that if he kept moving forward he would reach his destination.

An inchworm landed on my conference table as I was meeting with a colleague.

Despite its size, this inchworm was determined. My colleague and I became distracted from our agenda as we watched the inchworm make its way across the table. We even put an obstacle in its way to slow it down. This inchworm was too smart, and went around it.

My colleague and I laughed and said the inchworm had some lessons to teach us. In exchange for the wisdom, we carefully carried it back outside.

Lesson 1: It’s true that slow and steady will get you to your destination. The inchworm was determined to get to the other side of the table most likely thinking it was his ticket to the great outdoors. Given the distance and its size, it took the inchworm almost 20 minutes, but it made it.

My colleague and I were working on a project plan. We knew we should not rush the plan but rather break it into small, manageable tasks to keep it moving forward.

Lesson 2: Obstacles will appear, and it’s how you approach them that matters. For the inchworm, knocking the obstacle over was not an option. Calmly and deliberately going around it was. The same holds true in life. When an obstacle appears, how will you address it? There are always options. You need to choose the one that works for you.

Lesson 3: Sometimes we all need some help. Despite all of its efforts, the inchworm was not going to make it back outside without some help. We gladly assisted. Don’t be afraid to ask a colleague or a friend for help when you need it.

My colleague and I still chuckle over the distraction the inchworm provided us in our meeting. We won’t forget the lessons, however.

In fact, there was one last one.

Lesson 4: Sometimes it’s good to relax with a friend or a colleague and take a break. That’s exactly what we did as we watched the inchworm make its way across the table.

Now that it is safely back outside, it’s time to return to my project list.

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