The word “wedge” conjures up images of wedge shoes, wedge salads, and wedge-shaped tools. Note, I didn’t say wedgies!
Consider the purpose of the wedge as a tool. If you’ve ever used a hatchet, an axe, or a log splitter, you get it. The goal of a wedge is to assist in splitting something. In the case of a log, it is to split a “big one into little ones”. In this process, you’re making kindling - smaller pieces of wood that will actually aid spark into lighting a fire. As a verb, kindling means to arouse or inspire. So for this article, consider the opportunity to “kindle“ something within you. To light a fire through this metaphor.
Imagine the appearance of a fireplace log. It’s been in the making for years, if not decades. It’s firm, it’s solid, it’s hard to crack and it has stood the pressure and the test of nature. To split the log, it takes a wedge-shaped object. A wedge with a sharp, cutting edge, one which can penetrate, split, and literally disrupt.
Does our world, perhaps even more specifically your world, seem as though it is feeling its full of share of wedges - attacks, efforts to penetrate, actions to split and literally disrupt? The pressures of political division. The tension of social and justice unrest. Are you Republican or Democrat? Do you live in a red state or a blue state? Vaccinate or not vaccinate? Mask or no mask? Tension. Conflict. Stress. And, at the root of it, the “wedges” are in our midst. Wedges cause us to see differences, rather than similarities.
What can we do? What can you do?
In her book Multipliers, Liz Wiseman takes a serious look at the people we have in our lives. People we build an opinion of based upon our experiences with them. Our interactions. The life we share with them. We all have a brand – a personal brand. Her theory revolves around asking a simple question, “are you a multiplier or a diminisher“ and do you make people “more” through your encouragement, boosting, and support? Or do you intentionally or unintentionally diminish, weaken or tear down? Think of it this way, are you a wedge and not aware of it? Pushing people apart through your words, behaviors, and actions. Disrupting.
Another interesting source that supports this is the book How Full Is Your Bucket by Rath and Clifton. The work provides some interesting philosophies around the choices we can make to fill a person’s bucket, or to take from the bucket (as a dipper would). To build upon positive strategies for work and life, the following sums it up nicely. “Each of us has an invisible bucket. It is constantly emptied or filled, depending on what others say or do to us. When our bucket is full, we feel great. When it’s empty, we feel awful.”
I believe we all remember the people in our lives that serve as “multipliers”, and those who fill our bucket. The same people that have left a lasting impression in our mind and an image on our heart. We smile when we think about the experiences we have had with them and fondly recall the difference they have made. A colleague, a coach, a teacher, a boss, a relative, a pastor, a confidant – those who we could count on and know they would be in our corner to support us.
Rath and Clifton leave us with this simple yet powerful suggestion, “So we have a choice every moment of every day. We can fill one another’s buckets, or we can dip from them. It’s an important choice and one that profoundly influences our relationships, productivity, health, and happiness“.
Wedges. Multipliers. Buckets.
What is your choice going to be?