Do you ever hear something that stops you in your tracks, makes your head tilt to the side and maybe or maybe not causes your eyes to squint a bit and look up to the sky? I did, and it’s been rolling around in my head for over a month. The phrase originated from W. Clement Stone, who happened to be my friend’s grandfather. W. Clement Stone was a man who ‘built an empire on optimism’. A natural motivator, Stone believed that success stemmed from a person’s mental attitude. The phrase that he said that has stuck with me for so long is this:
Little hinges swing big doors.
The imagery is perfect and true. We have a very large freezer door at the bakery, and every single day since I heard the quote, I have looked at this door in a very different way. I used to look at the door and notice how big the door was. I never once looked at the hinges, though. Didn’t even consider them. Took them for granted. I cared a lot about the door – that it closed properly, that it stayed closed, that it kept the freezer at -2 degrees, and most of all, that the alarm signaling that something was wrong with the door didn’t get triggered. But those hinges never even received a momentary reflection or passing thought.
With the visual of our large freezer door in my head, I found myself trying to understand exactly what Stone was trying to convey. I would wake up during the night, my brain churning with one idea after another. Some nights felt like ‘a ha’ moments, others left me more confused. Was the purpose to bring attention to the little hinges, and their understated, quiet strength? Was it to highlight the fact that the door wouldn’t work without the hinges? Or, was Stone pointing out that little things can make a big difference?
I woke up again last night with this phrase in my head, and what I realized is that it is about seeing the big picture AND noticing all of the details. It’s stating that even the most minute gestures can have an enormous impact on something or someone. It’s showing us that it’s important to acknowledge all parts of a system and encourages us to appreciate their role in the bigger picture.
On a business level, I witness this daily. Every single person who works at Bisousweet helps to keep the business growing and moving forward. It goes past The B Team, and includes the people with whom I do business. From my supportive landlord to the warm, friendly delivery people who bring us our supplies, each person and each interaction matters. While I may have missed noticing the actual hinges on the large freezer door, I can’t help but recognize and appreciate all of the moving parts that come together each day that collectively define Bisousweet.
On a personal level, I am struck by how each of us has the capacity to be a little hinge for someone else. One small encouraging comment can be the difference for someone else’s entire day.
As I write this, all I can think about is my mom, otherwise known as Marge. She is the queen hinge for me. Eternally supportive, Marge showers positive words on me every day.
You’re doing great.Mark my words…you’re going to make it.(crumbs on her shirt) ‘You really do make the best rugelach’.‘Oh my gawd – those bis-cotti.‘
Just like with my freezer door, I never took the time to notice, acknowledge and appreciate how much of a little hinge Marge has been for me. Mom…thank you. Really. Thank you. Thank you for not only being my little hinge, but for showing me how I can be a hinge for the people in my life.
Happy Mother’s Day!