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Lifters, Levelers, and those who carry the shovels

October 14, 2013


When engaging in life or business, we often find three types of individuals. Lifters, levelers, and those who carry the shovel. Life could be pretty boring if we couldn’t dream, or fancy an idea upon occasion. Let’s face, an active mind is prone to explore thoughts and ideas. The challenge is to move those ideas into the active mode, and pursue the adventure of exploring a dream. The first step is verbalizing that idea. Most commonly, that requires a listener (unless like myself, you prefer being both the orator and the audience, ie: talking to yourself). Our idea begins to take life as we bounce it off others. We pursue validation of our genius. We begin to discuss the potential and possibilities. The response quickly conveys who we have surrounded ourselves with, and the mindset of the individuals with whom we share our ideas.


First, the Lifter. We all love lifters. Isn’t it great to have people around who embrace our genius and tell us every idea is awesome? Well, that might be extreme. But, encouragers are always welcome. When we share an ambition, they say ‘DO IT!’. This goes beyond glass half full individuals. They are the one’s who see progress as good, and innovation as worth the effort. You won’t find, ‘We’ve tried that before’, in a lifters response. The lifter encourages ideas by meeting them with optimism.

Second, the Leveler. I know we all desire to be surrounded by lifters, but levelers are a key component of progress as well. They are the pragmatist that challenges our ideas with potential difficulties. An idea that cannot pierce through a challenge, is an idea that possesses little substance. Don’t mistake a challenge as negativism. The pragmatist will help refine your idea, and make it stronger. Overcoming objections and challenges creates credibility in an idea. It should never be resented. It is always good to have someone near that can provoke you more deeply to making that good idea, a great idea.

Finally, those who Carry the Shovels. I wish I could find a positive here, but unless you want your ideas to day, stay away from this group. They carry the shovels because they are constantly burying every expansive thought and idea. I could quote dozens of phrases here for emphasis. “We tried that already.” “We like things just the way they are.” And so forth, and so forth. With shovel in hand, they never met an idea they did not prefer to bury. Unfortunately, they punish others by convincing them to stop attempting to innovate, and simply settle to vegetate. One of the signs of an organization that has changed little if at all over a period of time, is a strong population of ‘shovel bearers’.

As you read this article, you probably match faces to each group. But, more importantly, which group did you occupy today? How did you respond when new ideas came your way? I hope if you were in the last group, you will find a way to drop the shovel tomorrow. Be a lifter as often as you can. A leveler when you must. But please, loose the shovel.

written by James Anderson

James Anderson provides insights and encouragement regarding leadership and management. He presently work with Career Tech in Lakeland, Florida as Internet Recruitment Consultant and is the Instructor for their Employment, Recruiting, and Placement Specialist program. Career Tech is a private vocational school for adults, providing job skills training to assist individuals with launching new careers.


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