Cow bells have a very special meaning in my life. I first experienced the rush of ringing bells when riding in the PMC. Spectators line the route of the PMC ride, enthusiastically ringing bells while cheering on the riders. I loved the energy the bells create, and look forward to it each summer when I clip into my pedals to do the ride.
The bells took on a new meaning one afternoon when my acupuncturist, Jonathan, told me a story. On that day, I was tired, the team at Bisousweet was tired, we had a lot of work ahead of us and our collective energy and spirit was low. Jonathan asked how we celebrate the process. I didn’t understand what he meant, and when I asked him to explain, he asked if we did anything to motivate and encourage each other throughout the day, or did we celebrate when we completed a task. While I occasionally walked around the kitchen to check in on everyone, the relief and the celebration always happened at the end of the day, the end of a project. That’s when Jonathan told me about The Way of the Goose.
When geese fly in their triangular formations, they honk while they fly. The reason why, according to the legend, is that they are encouraging the leader and each other to keep flying, to keep going. They are honking to remind each other that they are there for each other, that no one is alone on this journey. The geese fly incredibly long distances, and they rally each other the entire way. Jonathan told me that I needed to bring the way of the goose to the bakery.
We’ve been ringing bells for three, maybe four years now. The original collection of bells I purchased sadly were lost, and for about a year, we improvised usually by ringing an imaginary bell and yelling ‘ring that bell’. I had ‘buy bells’ on my to do list for far too long, and about a month ago, I finally took care of business and purchased a new collection. They are red, they are adorable, and they are being used. A lot.
Bring bells into the workplace, and you’ll quickly find out interesting things about your co-workers. Some people will enthusiastically embrace the bells, while others will politely request never to be asked to ring a bell. We’ve created some basic ground rules to accommodate the varied needs of the team. There is no bell ringing peer pressure allowed. Bell ringing is optional, and anyone at any time of the day can choose to ring a bell. If one person rings a bell, others are encouraged to ring their bell to join in on the celebration. I keep a bell on my desk so that I can participate.
If you must know, I’m kinda bell shy deep down inside. When I’m working on a tedious project in my office, I often want to ring the bell but have yet to do more than nudge it with my pen and smile. Maybe one day I’ll gain more confidence in that area. Bell goals…it’s a thing.
Today, the bells mean even more to me because our most enthusiastic bell ringer of all time is leaving to start a new chapter of her life. I have relied on her to be our chief bell ringer, and she effortlessly took this responsibility to heart. And in true style, she appeared in my office this morning with a very meaningful gift in her hand. Yes, it’s a bell. A handpainted bell for Team Bisousweet with sage advice that I hope everyone reading this will embrace.
Take a break
Hug it out
Say I love you
To my dear friend Sam…thank you for your friendship, your hard work, your zest for life, your ability to always cheer me up. I am so excited for your next adventure and cannot wait to watch you continue to soar. My inner bell will always ring for you, sister.