On most weekday mornings, the alarm goes off at 5:30. About 15 minutes later, Grace and I head outside for a quick walk. My eyes are blurry and I’m not totally awake, coffee comes later. So the other day when I glanced up and saw this heavy string-like image hanging in front of me, I thought I was seeing things. After all, it’s a bit dark at that hour this time of year.
I literally wiped my eyes, trying to figure out what it was. Holy cow! Could it be a spider web?? This was a cobweb of epic proportions. Not a traditional circular web, but a thick, strong thread like I had never seen before. I stopped to examine, making sure not to run into it. It reached about 30 feet from the retaining wall of our driveway to some high branch in a tree across the road. It was swaying in the breeze, strong, comfortable, and carefree, nowhere near a breaking point. I found the end of it near where I was standing, then realized there were several other shorter “lines” along with a few round webs, too. This spider had been very busy and had created some amazing results in a very short time.
What does a spider web have to do with managing people or creating better workplace dynamics?
There are a couple lessons that come to my mind. For starters, nature is a role model that amazing things can be accomplished. If a tiny insect can spin a tough tinsel that will sway safely in the wind, it makes me believe that we humans are capable of miracles, too. Are you limiting your potential because of our own belief system or organizational constraints? When we believe that we can spin the web of our dreams, what would it look like?
Things can happen fast, move with it! This elaborate web network happened overnight and by afternoon, all of it was already gone. It reminds me of the saying, “the only constant is change.” Animals and plants in nature have to adapt in order to survive but we often resist change in the workplace. This spider had exerted a ton of energy but there was nothing to show for it within the span of a day. That was probably his plan, building what he needed but knowing that it wasn’t permanent; he then moved on to a new place for his next meal. If we want to survive, we need to adapt to our environment or move on to a new one.
Finding your spider web
I almost walked right by this spider’s work without seeing it but I was thrilled that I had noticed it. Not only did it capture my attention in the moment, I went out to check on it several times that day! I never did see the spider but I felt some connection with him since I was admiring his work so much. It makes me realize that when we have an awareness of our environment, we tend to treat it better and care more about it. Paying attention to what is around us, whether it’s people, animals, objects in nature — well, anything such as the mood we are in or the achievements of our colleagues — impacts and enriches our thoughts and interactions. What have you noticed today in your environment that you may have missed before? And how did that change the way you interacted? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!