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Progress or Status Quo?

Progress or Status Quo?

I received lots of fun feedback from last week’s blog that contained a riddle… Some correct answers…and some really wacky ones! In that spirit, I thought I would share another childhood riddle often told by my Dad that was designed to force me to think “outside of the box”. This week, I’ll give you the answer as well as its life’s lesson. Here goes…

Two men who worked as chimney sweeps were on the roof cleaning the chimney when they both fell into the flue. Up on hitting the ground uninjured, they both stood up. One man’s face was covered with soot while the other man’s face was remarkably clean. Yet the man with the clean face proceeded to wash his face while the man with the dirty face didn’t. How could this be?

Sometimes, we are influenced so much by our own surroundings that we fail to see beyond our own environment. We look at our own processes and begin to believe that everything is okay and normal. That aloofness, and the “status quo” that develops, can be very hindering to business development and growth.

We are all sometimes guilty of believing that what our eyes tell us is simply the way that things should always be. Yet at some of the most impactful conferences that I’m privileged to speak at, the attendees frequently learn much more by consorting with other practitioners than they do by listening to me. It can be an eye-opening experience for some. They begin to see things differently once they hear what others are doing.

The man with the dirty face simply looked at the man with the clean face and made the improper assumption that his face was clean as well. At the same time, the man with a clean face looked at the man with the dirty face and… well… you know what happened.

Step outside of your own practice and look around. Are you making false assumptions that cause you to remain status quo?

That childhood riddle was actually my driving force to become a consultant many years later. Consulting is nothing more than taking years of experience and showing people what they are often too close to see for themselves.

Could your practice benefit from another set of eyes to examine its processes, services, and profitability?

Please feel free to email me at

Riddle me this.
Investing in Success