Parable of the Post-It

I have a good friend who once handed me a Post-It note and asked me to place it as high on a wall as I could. He's an executive coach of sorts, so sensing a test of skill and aptitude, I jumped from my chair, snatched the note and placed it on the wall with the widest stretch I could muster, giving it an extra tap to make sure it stayed in place.


I’m rather tall, so I figured I had already won the game and sat back down with a smile.

“Now,” he said, “I want you to take that same Post-In note and move it higher.”

Here’s where the scene starts to move in slow motion in my memory: I stood up, removed the note, and placed it even higher on the wall.

I looked at him dumbfounded.

No words were necessary. My life was changed. I went home and tried it on my family. My friends. My co-workers. Over and over, and over again, they would place the Post-It note higher the second time.

So, if placing the Post-It note was merely a matter of aspiration, I was actually choosing where to place it?

Physical stature wasn’t even an indicator of success in this mini-clinical study of sticky notes and will. That theory was blown apart when one of my kids used a chair, and then a step ladder to place his Post-It note, then proudly turned to ask, “Did I win?”

That was over a decade ago. Even today, I am mesmerized by folks moving the Post-It note up the wall when it appears they’ve initially exhausted all resources, options or potential; stretching, reaching, finding more.

Oh sure, it’s not always a Post-It note. Sometimes it’s a company in Colorado like our cover story of UDR and Tom Toomey further strengthening the REIT’s position, drawing more altitude with that second push. Or the inspirational growth of Mentor Properties in Arizona by the DeSouza brothers, who seemingly extended their reach well beyond the apparent breadth of their humble beginnings.

Over and over we see stories of those who reach inside and find the strength, desire and drive to push the Post-It higher.

What causes us to magically turn, “there is no more,” to “there is more?”

The amazing thing, it’s inside each and every one of us. Stories are made by how we use it.