Have you ever spent any time on a seesaw? Two kids get on opposite sides of a long board that’s fastened to a bar in the middle. Up and down they go. Even adults enjoy a occasional session with a seesaw. It’s an almost universal experience of childhood, American style. They come in all shapes, sizes and configurations. These range from several beams attached to a single fulcrum in city parks and school playgrounds to the shorter versions found at preschools or as a part of backyard swing sets where two kids sit facing one another and press the platform in between to push the swing into motion. Whatever its form, the motion of a seesaw is a source of good memories for many of us.
Figuring out how to keep the motion going is a problem most of us have faced. Gravity, acting on the weight of our bodies, pulls the beam down as soon as one person is seated on it. Joined by a partner on the other end, the weights are now likely to balance, if fairly close to being equal. Adding the force of pushing off of the ground time after time keeps the seesaw in motion.
When two kids or adults who are differently sized use one together, the heavier person has to sit much closer to the fulcrum to keep things going. It also requires ongoing collaboration. We’ve all been abandoned by a playmate while high in the air. Wham! They get off and we land hard. We’ve also felt the thrill of staying high up while our partner sat fully on the ground, using all of their weight to keep us suspended. Or just being in perfect balance, both parties suspended at an even level, perfectly still.
All of these anomalies in the process taught us how to manage weight and force. Eventually, we became masters of this simple machine. Archimedes of Syracuse, a famous Greek physicist, mathematician, inventor, engineer, and astronomer, said “give me a place to stand and I will move the world”. Or- given a lever long enough and a fixed, immovable point on which to stand, it would be possible to move the whole world.
Picture yourself phasing out of alignment and separating into two beings. One being represents your self with its faculties. It’s the personal you. The things that you think about, the people that you relate to and even your favorite places and spaces are all here. The other represents the object of your energies and engagement. It’s your mission, if you will. Bigger than a project or any process, it’s your most loved pursuit. Done right, THIS will be your magnum opus. It energizes you, entrances you and it inspires you.
Now- there is a connection between these two halves of your life. A mechanism whereby energy flows from one to the other and back again, endlessly. The board of connection passes across a fulcrum and both sides move up and down, pushing off against the ground, using work, weight and the exchange of energy and force to maneuver. If you’re tired and depressed, your project will be stranded high up while you are “stuck” on the ground. No push means no motion.
Sometimes our projects feel super heavy and WE feel stuck up in the air, unable to move against the weight of the role we’ve undertaken. Parenting a special needs child, starting a new business or breaking ground ahead of a new initiative at your non-profit are all examples of how one side or the other of our lives can strand us. Even if we are perfectly balanced with our ambitions in terms of relative weight, we need the motion of continued engagement and exchange to build out our lives on both sides.
I am fulfilled as a person by competently engaging with both sides and by keeping in mind that I sometimes need some distance or a change in posture to shift the weight of who I am and what I want to accomplish. Size is a matter of perspective, and weight doesn’t determine the outcome, as Archimedes so ably proved. Changing our focus, mindset and posture can shift almost anything. If you need some help with your own outlook so that you can get things moving again, call one of our compassionate, gifted coaches. We can help!