Ring that bell

At my bakery, we have a tradition that involves bells. We ring them, and we try to ring them a lot. Let me explain.

I once heard a story that geese squawk while they’re flying as a way of encouraging the leader of the flock to keep going. The point of the story is that cheering for people throughout the process of working toward a goal matters just as much as cheering for someone when they accomplish the goal. It’s the same concept as people lining the roads of a race to cheer for the runners or the cyclists instead of gathering only at the finish line. As I listened to the story, I knew I had to somehow bring this concept into the bakery.

I purchased a bunch of assorted bells, handed them to the team, and told them how we were going to start utilizing them throughout the day. We are no longer just going to celebrate finishing a job, we’re going to celebrate the process of working ON that job.

My co-workers took to the bells in their own way. Some avoided the bells, and looked at the festivities with slight irritation mixed with a pinch of disdain, their face clearly sending the message that the bells were a distraction, a waste of time. Others took to the bells immediately, however, and soon the normal sounds of a day in the bakery were marked with higher pitched jingling bells and the deep resonant sounds of cow bells. Over time, however, almost everyone at Bisousweet has taken to the bells and reaches for one when they need a boost or they want to celebrate something.

For me, the act of choosing a bell and ringing it signifies joy for what is happening right now. It includes the baked goods, the people, and our methodical processes of baking, packaging, cleaning, repeat. The bells remind me how important it is to find happiness in what we do each day, and to enjoy not just the final outcome, but all of the efforts we take to reach that goal.

Today is a special day, because as I’m sure you know (wink wink), it’s National Bosses Day. And today, I received a very special bell that I will add to our growing collection of bells. It says ‘Boss Lady’, which makes me smile. I like to say I’m not the boss, I’m the weak link, but today, ‘boss lady’ works for me. We all need to have more bells in our lives. And, we all need to be surrounded with people who will help us ring bells throughout life.

Many thanks to SL for my gift.