I was intrigued by David Malone’s documentary on the secret lives of waves (Wednesday 2nd February BBC4). In it David explored our fascination with what makes our oceans swell and subside, and enables surfers to do their thing. He revealed that the wave as it travels across the sea is not made of water, but of energy transferred from the ocean winds. This energy can travel thousands of miles, before the sea runs out of water and the energy is once again transferred to sound, heat and sand shifting.
The concept of an object: a wave, also being a process: the transfer of energy, was then extended to us as human beings. We too transfer energy from what we eat, drink and breathe, and in turn process it into activity and regenerating ourselves. Maybe our fascination, David concluded, is not because we are like waves; it is because we are a wave.
At The Storytellers, we have been using the graphic of a wave to illustrate the phases of our programme. It was developed to illustrate how the story of the journey a business is on, starts at the top of an organisation; with the vision of the senior team, then travels down to connect the people who will make that vision happen.
But, just like David’s ocean wave, maybe the real meaning is about the transfer of energy. The elite athlete coach Jim Loehr, in his book ‘The Power of Story’ talks passionately about human energy: ‘The most precious resource that we human beings possess’. It is fundamental to our existence, and we will only produce a finite amount, for a relatively few years. So how we choose to use it, and the way we apply it, is one of the most important decisions we make.
One of the qualities of great leaders is their ability to transfer their energy for achieving something to others. To persuade other human beings to channel this precious life source into a common purpose. And as Jim knows, from working with sports people at the top of their game, that energy, if successfully channelled can achieve extraordinary things.