Growth is not required…survival is optional

Recently, I read a blog post (forgive me but cannot remember where – I do have the notes in my journal though) that talked about predictions for 2010 and there were as follows:

  • 2 job norm – diversify & be more in control of your financial future
  • less “off hours” work – people working only the time they are “at work”
  • competition for discretionary energy
  • more diverse arrangements – i.e. virtual work
  • transparent “adult” arrangements – philosophy of recasting the employment relationship from one of paternalistic care to adult choice

This resonated with me.  Most likely because it is the same strategy I had developed since I was laid off from Alliance Data in January 2009.  (A tangential note on “being laid off”…it is my opinion that companies only lay people off they do not really want to keep anyway.  I bear no ill will towards Alliance for their action as it was definitely not a great fit but to say you are laying people off while interviewing outside candidates to backfill those same jobs is a bit paradoxical.) It was my good fortune to land at Fiserv in December of 2009 and it has been a good experience thus far for both me and the organization (I am assuming this on their part since I am still employed).  I have actually been employing this multi-prong strategy for the past 6 years as I have taught at Franklin University’s Graduate School of Business since 2003. This was always something that I looked at as fun since I enjoyed it and never really thought of it as work in the traditional sense. 

Recently I joined a friend of mine in a small boutique consulting company in Columbus as the operational & performance strategist.  Social Business Strategies is a fantastic concept and Nate Riggs is the founder and driver behind the idea.  He is the epitome of a communication evangelist who is able to merge traditional theory with the all the new technology and social communication tools to create powerful strategies that organizations can leverage both internally and externally. 

My approach coalesced recently when I spoke with Craig Hohnberger, President/Owner, ActionCOACH of OH, IN, WI, MN.  Craig & I met 5 or so years ago and get together from time to time for coffee.  Craig is an incredibly passionate and smart guy.  He was taking advantage of an opportunity to receive some coaching during an executive leadership call with ActionCOACH and he shared the results with me.  He had an epiphany that he needed to find a way to fulfill his “adrenaline junkie” personality instead of trying to find it within his business.  This was an issue because he would get his business humming along, get bored, break it, then get a rush from putting it back together.  This was good for him, bad for everyone else.  He determined that the issue was that he needed to find a way to get “rush” outside of his business and get back to some other things he loved liked, whitewater rafting, skiing, skydiving, etc.

This is a lesson for all of us.  We should all seek to have our own “needs” fulfilled in life but we should not seek expect one avenue to do that.  DIVERSIFY!  Have multiple jobs, activities, interests and pursue them all. 

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Challenge yourself to expand both your capabilities and capacities 
  • Life is meant to be lived at the edges (not in the middle)
  • If you are not at 85+%, you are pushing yourself
  • When an organism stops growing, it begins dying
  • It is not the strongest that survive but those most adaptable to change

This can be a challenge as we imagine the steps it would take to do this but read this quote by Teddy Roosevelt (if you need inspiration, read more on Teddy as he was the poster child for this type of effort)

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

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Filed under Adaptation, The Human Condition

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