Ignore The Bees!

The front flowerbed of my house is populated mostly by hostas, mainly because they’re nearly impossible to kill (unlike every flower we try to plant). Hostas bloom in late summer. The blooms are tall stems with multiple purple flowers. Hundreds of pretty purple flowers.

Hosta nectar must be the crack cocaine of the bee world, because at any given moment, there are countless numbers of bees flying around in front of my house. Not just any bees, but those gigantic, intimidating, fuzzy bumblebees. 

We have a small patio in front of our house, too. It is my favorite place to sit and read. It’s also less than a foot away from bumblebee crack town. So, I have three choices: Find somewhere else to read, kill all the bees, or ignore the bees altogether. This past weekend, I chose to sit in my favorite spot and read. I had a theory that the bees would be much more interested in the pretty purple flowers than Tom Peters’ latest book (The Little Big Things…highly recommend, by the way).

So, I sat and read for a glorious and uninterrupted 30 minutes before my 9-year old daughter bounced outside. She stopped dead in her tracks several feet away from my little oasis. When I looked up, her eyes were the size of frisbees, her mouth wide open like a big-mouth bass.

DAD! There are BEES all around you!

“Yep. And there have been for the past 30 minutes. They don’t care about me. All they care about are those pretty purple flowers. I’m not a pretty purple flower, so I’m pretty sure they’re not going to bother me.

By the time I finished my sentence, she had bolted from the scene, leaving a small whirlwind in the spot she had just occupied. Apparently, she didn’t believe me. 

I spent another glorious and uninterrupted 20 minutes reading before I had to move on to mowing, sorting socks & underwear, or some other completely forgettable weekend chore.

The bees never did bother me. 

Do you ever let the bees bother you? I mean the bees at work: the projects, people, issues, etc. that buzz around you all the time, distracting you from being your best. 

We get so worked up about stuff that really shouldn’t concern us at all. We worry about office politics, other people’s agendas, or what the CEO is or isn’t doing. When the truth is that much of what we worry about at work has very little affect on us. Ok, maybe some of these things do affect us, but the truth is we have little or no control over many of these things. So why do we bother worrying and complaining about them?

The bees really aren’t paying attention to you. They’re busy doing their own thing. Office politics will go on with or without you, other people will always have their own agendas, and the CEO has more on her to-do list than making your life miserable, I promise. The bees usually only bother you when YOU step into their business.

Ignoring the bees can be difficult because misery loves company. We love to feel a sense of belonging, even if it means we belong to a group that wallows in negativity, gossip, and undermining. If we feel even a little bit wronged by a co-worker, a boss, or “the company,” we will dive headfirst into the beehive, not realizing until it’s too late that there are an awful lot of stingers in there.

The most effective people in any organization are the ones who have learned to ignore the bees. How do they do it? They focus on doing great work, collaborating with their teammates, and supporting their leaders. When someone is gossiping or complaining, they simply walk away. They are quick to encourage and compliment others. They check their egos at the door. Instead of always doing what they want to do, they do what needs to be done to make the team, the department, or the company successful. And at the very least, when the bees start buzzing, they just keep their mouth shut and get back to work as quickly as possible.

Got ideas or encouragement for those struggling with bees in their office? Leave a comment!


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