Bumping the Lamp

The last several weeks, the leadership team at my school has been studying the book, The Disney Way by: Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson. It is an inspiring thing to peek into the thinking that drove Walt Disney to create his dream - Disney World. Very simply, his four steps were: Dream, Believe, Dare, Do.

There are many parts of this book that I could refer to as powerful points for reflection, but sometimes my mind gets stuck on one certain thing... Since reading about it, I am continually asking myself, "Are you bumping the lamp?"

Let me back up a minute and explain. This curious phrase came about when the film, Roger Rabbit, was being made. In this scene, the character bumps his head on a hanging lamp. Initially there were no shadows in the scene, then creators caught their error and spent the countless hours it took to add the drawings with shadows. Viewers may never have noticed the missing shadows, but they would have noticed something was off... "Bump the Lamp" became the Disney nickname for making things right down to the detail.

I have always valued the details in my job, but recently I find myself constantly repeating, "Are you bumping the lamp?" I think I do pretty well with visual details (because I enjoy them), but my challenges are paperwork, planning and following up on tasks I initiated. Bumping the lamp with paperwork, for me, means that even if I don't value it...someone else will...so I need to treat it like it is important to me too. When I plan for teaching or professional development...yes, I can do a pretty good job even if I wait until the last minute to get things together...but I also know from experience that if I am far enough in advance with my plans I usually improve upon them before delivery. I love to brainstorm new ideas and frequently put them into action or encourage a colleague to take it on...but then the adrenaline junkie in me is ready for the next brainstorm. I need to stop and nuture new things that have begun and the people putting them into action. Even when I think I'm doing well, I am frequently looking for a way to bump the lamp and put more heart into my details.
I am absolutely a failure at "bumping the lamp" taking care of myself. No shadows there at all. I am starting today by pulling out my sketchpad to do the hundreds of drawings it will take...but when I'm done I'll be exercising regularly, eating healthier food, spending more time playing with my kids and looking for ways to stop and smell the roses more often.

Let's all take our cue from the Disney Imagineers. How do you think you could "bump the lamp" in your life?

3 comments:

dayle said...

I have always thought that I was pretty good at "bumping the lamp" -knowing when things were out of balance and correctly them quickly. I am an excellent judge of how much I can take on and do well and with age has come the wisdom to say, "no" (as in, I can't twitter yet... although it is so intriguing!) But...I do understand what you mean about not being as good to yourself. My son as really been pushing me to exercise recently and I actually did buy a good pair of walking shoes yesterday... and about that eating healtier thing... This is really what reflection is all about. Stopping every now and then to reprioritize so that the details do get taken care of without the added stress. Thanks for the reminder. dayle

Suzanne said...

Melanie,
Thank you for this post. I'm going to spend some time reflecting professionally and personally to make sure that I too am doing all I can to "Bump the Lamp."

Mrs. Nash said...

Melanie, dayle and Suzanne -- I EXPECT TO SEE ALL THREE OF YOU OUTSIDE AFTER DISMISSAL WALKING WITH ME (AND MY FEW COMPANIONS) SOMETIME! You are all AWESOME educators -- people I look up to -- but I agree, we ALL need to pay ourselves first sometimes. As a fellow offender of neglecting myself, I put myself last MOST of the time. However, it is amazing how far just 30 minutes can go! Attending a yoga class, walking on a beautiful day, jogging on a treadmill with a friend, playing with my daughters, sending the girls to a babysitter and actually having an adult conversation with my husband...it is amazing how refreshing it can be. I am just learning this lesson! The reality is, it all still gets done, and we're all happier and better people in the end.

As far as "bumping the lamp" professionally...I agree. Reflection is the way to go. My problem is priorities, too. I am detail oriented, but, as my own worst critic, I tend to get bogged down in the forest of details. At times I need someone else to help me put my thoughts (stresses) in perspective.

Thank goodness for the support of a good team of colleagues, friends, family! :)