Over The Line

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Recently I’ve been asking myself “Does this task push the ball over the line?”

I used to intern at Conscious Minds when I was in college. I helped out with research and organization. On multiple occasions I spent 10 hours straight looking up photographers, motion designers, and directors in specific cities for upcoming projects. 

And I got really good at it!

I love knocking out a long list of simple tasks. It can be the most mind-numbing stuff, but if I get some good music in my headphones, I can spend an entire day doing one thing. And I can have a good time while I’m at it. 

The ability to knock out tasks is a good skill to have, but I realized it was becoming more of a fallback. A vice to help me feel productive while I avoided the difficult calls, conversations, and ideas. 

So a question I’ve been asking myself is “does this task push the ball over the line?”

In football, the quarterback passes the ball to the wide receiver down field, who makes a great catch, dodges the defender and scores. They take the ball over the line. Of course, none of that would be possible without the linemen, dutifully blocking the other team from tackling the quarterback. But linemen don’t put the ball over the line. 

Imagine a hypothetical football team that has the best offensive linemen on the planet who literally don’t let anyone past them. On this same hypothetical team, the quarterback never passes, hands off the ball, or runs. This team would never score. 

Because linemen don’t put the ball over the line. 

So this question has been persisting on my quest to become a true linchpin. I’ve definitely been guilty of doing my job well enough as to not let anything past me, while avoiding the difficult tasks that push the ball over the line. I’ve done my job well enough so if anyone asks why the ball isn’t over the line, I can show my work and prove that I did my part. Meanwhile, the ball doesn’t cross the line. 

It’s time for me to confront my fear, ask for responsibility, and do the things that really make a difference. 

Joshua Reese