Monday, April 30, 2012

Live by your wits? Or someone else's?

This post is inspired by the rapidly approaching semester end and a friend’s Facebook post, where she say "At least once a week, I get a phone call, for which my response is, ‘Let me Google that for you.’" (Translation: They haven't even taken the initiative to search the internet.). I’m not sure what images or thoughts this conjures up for you, but for me I think about all of the untapped potential that’s out there (in me, in you, in everyone). It makes me think of all of the conversations I've had with friends, students, colleagues – you name it – where they name something they want to do or achieve, yet months later there has been no progress. So, what’s getting in the way? Who knows for sure – it’s different for every one of us. Think with me for a moment…
  • When asked to find a partner in class, are you the finder or the one who is found?
  • When you identify a need in your community, do you sit idly or do you do something about it?
  • Do you talk about losing weight or do you lose weight?
  • Do you take that exotic trip or complain that you never have time for a vacation?
I wonder how many of us fully act on our interests, goals, and desires. It seems to be that we have many more people who like to talk a good game, rather than play a good game. In many respects, this makes sense, especially when you put a high value on what happens if something goes wrong. The rejection when your choice partner says, sorry I’ve already got a partner; or the failed community initiative; or gaining 5 pounds instead of losing; or the trip where you get stuck in the bathroom because something didn’t agree with you. The path of least resistance is the least risk and, as the title suggestions, requires the least effort. 

But, I challenge you to consider what happens if you take that risk. What could be possible and how much are you willing to risk to see if it can happen? Consider Matt Groening, a man who knew the path of least resistance wasn’t going to work for him. In Ken Robinson’s book, The Element, Groening describes the typical path – “you go to high school, you go to college, you get a credential, and you go out and get a good job.” – which he followed by saying “I knew that wouldn’t work for me; I was going to be drawing cartoons forever.” The book goes on to describe how the legacy of "The Simpsons"was born. Consider what Sunday night television might be like if Matt took the typical path.

So, what is one to do? Well, it’s your call. There are hundreds, probably thousands, of resources out there, like Ken Robinson’s book that can help you tune into your own personal passion. I could probably list 100, and maybe have in a past post. However, the challenge is not providing the list; the challenge is for you to take the risk that moves you beyond the status quo… Imagine a world with more people doing work they love, rather than today’s world where less than 30 percent of people do. Really, take the time to imagine it...

With these thoughts, I say a sad farewell to the Kelley School of Business. Spending the last three years with a bright, talented bunch of MBA students has been a true pleasure, which is what made the decision to leave so difficult. As my partner’s current engineering development project nears production and he makes the next move, I felt now was the right time to take a step back and allow the students a smooth semester end transition, rather than a mid-semester move. And I am also a bit fearful of the unknown future; can I find such a talented group to coach? Can I continue to make an impact to people’s careers? Will I like where I am going to live? As I am taking this next step and leaving the comfortable life (and this great job) to pursue a new passion, who knows if I will be successful, and even what will happen next - but I guess that is the purpose...

Congratulations to the Class of 2012! You’ve got a lot to offer, so please don’t be afraid to show them what you’ve got. I wish you all the best.

No comments:

Post a Comment