In his book, The Five Temptations of a CEO, Patrick Lencioni makes a brilliant point about how easy it is to focus on the wrong things.

In an old episode of the I Love Lucy show, Ricky comes home to find Lucy crawling around the living room on all fours. When he asks her what she’s doing she explains that she has lost her earrings.

“You lost your earrings in the living room?” Ricky asks.

Lucy replies, “No, I lost them in the bedroom—but the light is so much better out here.”

Lucy hunts in the light, not where she lost her earrings. It’s absurd, laughable. Yet we—in our polished business suits—don’t we often do the same?

We chase the light, not the earrings. The glitter of the “new” is blinding, but our lost earring—the real value—lies in the shadowed bedroom of our businesses: the basics.

The basics are the bedroom—overlooked, messy, yet full of diamonds. Customer service. Employee engagement. Quality process. These aren’t sparkling, shiny. They’re the every day—yet they’re gold mines. They’re the earrings we’ve lost.

While we scuttle around in the bright living room of the latest fad, we leave the bedroom—the base—unattended. Crawling in the light is futile when what you’ve lost lies in the dark.

Turn off the living room lights. Pick up a torchlight. Crawl back into the bedroom. And find your earrings.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.