The hotel did not disappoint. Once home to the Federal Postal Office, the historic, 1889 building has been restored to its former glory. Currently it is a perfect blend of modern luxury and history. Each of the eight rooms has an individual character. Each is named for a member of royalty. I found myself residing on the third and top floor in the Prince of Wales room.
Following one of the days of work, I decided to take a drive around town to pick up a few things I needed for the following days’ workshops. My motives were threefold; I needed the items, the sky was quickly darkening with threatening storm clouds making the prospect of a later run unappealing, and by making the stops on the way back to the hotel, I could avoid too many trips up and down the fifty stairs that led to my room!
My timing was not perfect and I ended up dodging the rain as I ran from the car to the inn, but for the most part, I managed to stay fairly dry. Later in the evening, warm and dry in my room, all preparations made for the following day, I tucked in to bed. The rain had stopped but there was a steady drip, drip, drip that I could hear outside. When I exited the building in the morning, I could see that the dripping had eventually filled up one of the downspouts that eventually overflowed creating quite a lake in the parking lot.
It dawned on me that while one drip doesn’t pack much of a punch, a steady drip, drip, drip can have significant results.
When the business part of my trip was complete, Jim joined me and we headed to Ottawa to visit with my brother who has recently made that city his home. Our weekend was filled with touring some of the incredible museums and seeing the sights our Capital city has to offer. One highlight for all of us was a surprise my brother had planned. His current office is situated on grounds shared by the stables and training facility for the famous RCMP Musical Ride. Little had we known, that one of the jobs assigned to the magnificent horses of the musical ride, is to pull the carriage used when members of the Royal Family visit Canada. My brother arranged for us to be passengers in the carriage on one of the training rides. The horses need to be disciplined to not only manage crowds of people, but to remain perfectly still as people board and disembark from the carriage. As the driver of the carriage told us, ‘It wouldn’t do for the horses to startle as the queen was climbing aboard’!
As we were driven through the incredible winding streets of Rockcliffe Park, gazing at magnificent homes occupied by ambassadors from around the world, I observed our driver’s interactions with everyone he met. Each time we met a vehicle, whether it was simply passing us or it had pulled to the side of the road to give the horses a wide berth, (and also to snap a picture) the driver raised his crop, waved, smiled and said thank you. Drip, drip, drip. With every single encounter, our driver added a drop of goodwill to the reputation of the RCMP. With each encounter I witnessed the smiles and I could feel the approval of everyone we met; approval for the beautiful sight of the black horses and the carriage, but also the approval of this well-known symbol of Canadian ambassadorship.
As we drove along for close to an hour and a half, we chit chatted to the driver about many things. Jim asked him if he ever experienced any drivers who were frustrated with the presence of the horses. In his response, I’m sure the driver could have told us of several less than polite encounters. Yet, his response continued to give evidence of the conscious way he chose to represent his organization, the RCMP. “Most people just love to see us”, he replied. Not once did he ever hint that his job was less than rewarding.
Drip, drip, drip.
Each of us is steadily dripping. We are dripping messages about how we value ourselves, how we like to be treated, how we react to the unexpected, how we feel about issues. We drip with our faces, with our body language, with our words, with our integrity, with our behaviour and with our values. When we drip a ‘no’ often enough, others will assume that we most often drip no’s. When we give and give and give and are never willing to receive, most people will stop trying to give back to us. When we show up on time, when we say we will, most people will assume we drip reliability. Most people, upon observing us, won’t jump to a conclusion about us after only one drip. But once they observe a stream of drip, drip, drip, they will quickly jump to their own conclusions.
Teenagers are famous for dripping eye rolls and heavy sighs. For the most part, these are forgivable; they are, after all, still trying to figure out who they want to be when they grow up. For the rest of us, those who are already grown up, the luxury of being careless with our drips is not one most of us can afford. It’s hard to convince someone we really are not dripping after the lake has suddenly formed.
The parking lot lake at the Inn, formed by the drip, drip, drips, did not create a permanent geological formation in the ground. On the other hand, the driver of the carriage, Scott, likely did create some permanent impressions in the people he met. He certainly left a wonderful impression on us.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘What am I dripping?’
Elizabeth is a certified, professional Life and Leadership Coach, and the owner of Critchley Coaching. She is the founder and president of the Canadian charity, RDL Building Hope Society. She works with corporations, non-profits and the public sector, providing leadership and personal coaching for individuals and teams. She creates and facilitates custom workshops for all sizes of groups. Contact Elizabeth to learn how to locate and maximize your drips!