On April 4, Seth Godin -- the writer I aspire to be like -- wrote, "The Invisible Fence" (Seth's Blog: The invisible fence ). In his usual eloquent yet terse style, he said:
"There are very few fences that can stop a determined person (or dog, for that matter).
Most of the time, the fence is merely a visual reminder that we're rewarded for complying.
If you care enough, ignore the fence. It's mostly in your head."
It caught my eye because once upon a time I looked into getting an Invisible Fence for my dog, pictured above. Also pictured above is my son, and to say the two were thick as thieves is an understatement. Aside from when he was at school, they went everywhere together. The boy thought the dog was his responsibility, at least that's what we'd told him. But our dog knew better. The boy was her human, a responsibility she took very seriously.
Which is why the Invisible Fence rep stood in my driveway, looked over at the dog and her human, and told me not to bother. "Dog's like that," he informed me. "they guard their flock no matter what. If she hears him and decides she needs to be there, a 10-foot brick wall won't stop her, let alone a shock collar, no matter how high you turn it up. What it will do, though, is make her think twice about coming back."
Years later, with the dog laid to rest and her human almost grown, that comment has stuck with me.
How often, I'm left wondering, do we build fences?
Fences around our work.
Fences around our teams.
Fences around our interactions.
Fences around our relationships.
Fences around our heart.
Fences, which, as Seth writes, are mostly in our head.
And, like the salesman told me that day, fences that do nothing to keep others locked inside artificial boundaries, but do an amazing job of keeping them from coming back once they are free.