The Client-centred Blog

Which screw to turn

There is a famous story about FedEx, the delivery company.

In the US the central hub of the business is in Memphis, so all overnight packages go through here.

One night the conveyer belt system suddenly stopped working bringing the business to a halt. It meant that the packages could not be distributed and the overnight delivery guarantee compromised.

There was serious money and reputation damage on the line.

The company managed to find a local technician to fix the problem and he arrived at the building and began to look over the system. Soon enough he found the problem and by simply turning a screw half a turn the conveyer springs back into action.

Delighted, the CEO, Fred Smith asked him what he was owed.

His reply was $10,000.

Taken aback at the amount Mr Smith requested a breakdown of costs and so the technician picked up a napkin and wrote down:
Turning screw $1. Knowing which screw to turn $9999!

It is true that a often a small adjustment can make a big difference. But it is knowing which screw to turn.

A client of mine is going through a challenging personal situation and had come out of a very difficult meeting. He said his spirits were low.

He also happens to be a talented amateur tennis player and after this meeting he was due to play a competitive match.

He began to play an opponent who he would usually expect to beat but soon he was down several games and losing the match. His opponent seized the opportunity and began to play even harder.

The circumstances of our lives are unique to each of us but we have all had that experience of being somewhere and yet our mind is somewhere else, right?

Why does this happen?

Because we have developed mental habits. For some people it is worry. For others it can be overwhelm. For others it is procrastination.
And when caught up in this thinking you are not as efficient, you tend to make more mistakes and your performance drops away.

The solution

Contrary to conventional wisdom you do not need to do anything. In fact, the doing (over-thinking) is the problem.

Your mind is inherently designed to clear itself, return to the present and give you your best thinking. It will do this without your intervention – the key is knowing that you feel your thoughts, not your circumstances.

Awareness will do all the work for you.

My client shared that he suddenly became aware of what he was doing with his thinking and instantly he was fully back in the game.

He won the next 8 points, his opponent lost his confidence and began to play much worse. My client went on to win the match.

You use the power of thought to create your experience.

The only reason difficulty can persist in your life is because you are innocently holding onto certain thinking. When you recognise what is happening you naturally stop thinking in ways that bring you nothing but stress and upset.

John Dashfield

John Dashfield spent 14 years as a self-employed adviser. Since 2006 he has been a coach, mentor and author helping advisers create transformations in their business and personal lives.


Leave a Comment