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Who Is Important? (Transcript)

Once Upon a Business – Episode 76

Who Is Important?

Lisa Bloom: A very long time ago, when all the parts of the body were just beginning to get together, they gathered for a conference. They were trying to decide which was most important.

Hi. I’m Lisa Bloom, the Story Coach, and you’re listening to Once Upon a Business. In each episode, we explore a story, a fairytale, folktale or traditional story so that we can discover the amazing lessons relevant for business and for entrepreneurs.

The eyes were the first to speak. They said, “It is clear that we see into everything. We recognize what is coming. We are the ones who perceive the truth.” The ears said, “We are more important.” “You? What about me?” said the mouth. “Everything comes through my door.” “Fool,” said the feet. “We carry you everywhere.” “And what about me?” said the nose. “Let’s face it,” said the sexual organs. “If it weren’t for us, you wouldn’t be sitting here at all.”

On and on went the debate. The different parts of the body argued amongst themselves for long days and nights. Finally, all the parts were exhausted. Then they heard a voice that seemed to come from very far and also very near, inside all the other pieces. They recognized it as their own, and yet not their own. It whispered, and also thundered within them.

“My brothers and sisters, have you forgotten my pleasure in your existence?” That was the voice of the heart speaking. “How can we exist without any one of us?” All the other voices knew that what the heart had spoken was true, and they were filled with joy and peace.

This is a story from the book Body Eloquence by Nancy Mellon and Ashley Ramsden. I love this story, a wonderful example of a creation story that speaks to how the world was made or explains how things came to be. And here, the human body. And what a wonderful question. Who is more important?

Isn’t this a question that speaks to human nature and our innate desire for importance? You can see it in children, how much we crave attention and to be the best, the first, the most. It’s also something that can really defeat us and leave us feeling less than, left out, bereft even. So I love the play in this story, how ridiculous many of the parts of the body seem, comically, like little children.

But then, there are all the human parts. They’re symbolic. Firstly, the eyes. We think that we see all, that there’s power in seeing. And yet we all know how easily our attention is diverted and distracted, how little we often see. All you need is to spend a few minutes with a magician to miss the very obvious slights of hand or hints that are given and cause us to be surprised by a disappearance or dumbfounded by the ability for our minds to be read. It’s usually a simple matter of distraction. We just don’t see what’s right in front of us, so of course, our eyes are not the most important.

And then there are our ears. We think that what we hear is truth and absolute, and yet our very biology helps us block out sounds that don’t serve us or cause a distraction. As I sat and worked on this story, I was in a coffee shop, a very noisy one actually. But I realized, or perhaps my ears realized that they had to block out the sound so that I could think through the story and what I wanted to say about it and write some notes. My oldest son always surprised me when he would study for school with earphones in and loud music playing. He said it helped him concentrate. So, of course, our ears can deceive us, too.

And then, there’s the feet. They claim that by taking us everywhere, they are the most important. So imagine you’re sitting in your home on the sofa, looking at pictures from your recent vacation and telling your friend all about it. As you describe that wonderful meal and the little Italian restaurant with the homemade ice cream and the amazing coffee, you can practically taste it and completely envision it. Your feet have taken you nowhere, but you’re no longer sitting on your sofa. And so each organ we can eliminate, nothing is more important than the other.

And this is also an interesting business lesson that there are many parts of a functioning business. They all have different and important roles. No one thing is more than another. But the message of the story is much deeper than that. You see, the voice comes from within and without the voice of truth that comes from the heart, the center, the wisdom that we all hold if we can just stay still and listen. And the truth is in the question the heart asked. How can we exist without any one of us? And they were filled with joy and peace because this is the truth. We are all integral to the workings of us. We need each other.

Such an important business lesson. We all have individual talents and abilities. We have different functions and activities, but it’s together that we can form the whole and become so much more than each of us are individually. The whole is indeed so much more than all the different parts.

I’ve worked with companies that were plagued by the ego of individuals or whole groups who felt that they were so much more important than others. And in truth, it’s never sustainable. There has to be a healthy respect and acknowledgement of the importance of all people and jobs. I think the greatest example of this is that of the garbage collectors. Most people wouldn’t do that job for all the money in the world, and many people have little respect for those that do.

And yet when the waste treatment plant shuts down, or the garbage collectors go on strike, well, the rest of us suffer. It’s not just the mess and smell of the uncollected garbage that we create, but the fallout of that in our society, the scavenging animals, the illnesses that are transmitted through waste. It’s a very fast deterioration into chaos that can literally shut down a city. So yes, the parts are important, but it’s coming together with cooperation and respect that makes us all do a better job in our companies and in our lives.

I love that the heart is the center in the story and in our bodies, and it holds the truth. We often assume it to be our minds. And so the story teaches us to be still, to listen to the sound of our heart and the truth that will come through, if only we’re willing to listen.

I’m Lisa Bloom, and you’ve been listening to Once Upon a Business. You can find out more about me at that’s story dash coach dot com. Once Upon a Business is part of the Mirasee FM podcast network, which also includes such shows as Just Between Coaches and Soul Savvy Business. To catch the great episodes that are coming up on Once Upon a Business, please follow us on Mirasee FM’s YouTube channel or your favorite podcast player.

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