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It’s the end of February already.
It won’t be long and the year will be over.
If you blink, you’ll miss it.
My oldest son, Hayden turns 8 next week.
I can still remember holding him when he was a first-born baby.
Soon, he’ll be in high school, then university, then working (as a zoologist if he stays true to his dream), and he’ll probably end up married with kids of his own.
If you’re anything like me, there are occasions when things seem to go bump in the night.
I’m not talking about the mythical monster under the bed from childhood, but those thoughts that mysteriously enter our minds, dance around a bit and keep us awake at unearthly hours.
What keeps you up at night?
Is it the things that you’re afraid of or looking forward to?
Is the project that you should have started or the one that you’re making steady progress on?
Is it the challenging problem or the innovative solution?
Is it the people you dislike or the ones you love?
Is it the imaginary catastrophic events that you can’t control and are unlikely to ever happen or the glorious future that you’re working towards?
One of the challenges that Karen and I have had since we’ve started our business on a full-time basis is managing our reactions to the good and not so good moments.
We’ve had a couple of weeks when we haven’t had as many clients as we had hoped or when there have been a few last minute cancellations, which can easily lead us to momentarily doubt the long-term viability of our business.
Conversely, there have been weeks where we’ve had an increase in clients ( and money) and are tempted to go around high-fiving each other, thinking that we are the second coming of Sir Richard Branson.
Then, I came across from Rudyard Kipling’s inspiring poem, “If” which contains this line, “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those two impostors just the same.”
After our oldest son, Hayden, comes home from school, I ask him how his day was.
Most days, the response is a perfunctory, “Good.”
If pressed for more information, he will often respond, that he can’t remember anything.
It’s very frustrating for Karen and I as we have a genuine interest in our kids’ lives and want to be involved in their world.
I’ve laughed about this with other parents (especially of boys), who relay their similar experiences, so you can imagine my delight when our school newsletter came through with 10 great questions that are designed to start slightly more interesting conversations with our children. These questions originally come from the excellent and helpful site, blogs.kidspot.com.au/villagevoices and you can be sure that I’ll be trying them out over the next few weeks: Read the rest of this entry »
Two monkeys, a father and his young son, were sitting in a large tree together.
The son turned to his dad and said, “I’m hungry, can you get me some leaves to eat?”
The father looked at his son and smiled, “Well, then you had better get some yourself.”
“But I don’t know how.” the son protested.
“You have a choice,” responded the dad. “You can pick the dry, unpalatable leaves that are found near the trunk or you can go to the edge of the limbs and choose the freshest, most delectable leaves.”
“That’s not fair, why can’t the nicest leaves be found where everyone can get to them easily?”
I was terrified when I made the decision to leave my previous job to launch our resume writing and career services business on a full-time basis.
But I suspect that it was good fear because the stakes were high, we were marching into the unknown and we weren’t 100% sure if the business would be a long-term success. Under those circumstances, it’s perfectly normal and appropriate to feel a few butterflies in the stomach and occasionally wonder if you’ve made the right decision.
It would have been bad fear if I had allowed these concerns to stop me from making a bold decision about our future.
As I reflect on these feelings, I can see a few circumstances where we can either experience good fear and take action or allow bad fear to rule our lives, severely limiting our effectiveness.
It’s OK to feel a little bit afraid before you step on stage to deliver a message. That’s good fear.
It becomes bad fear when you don’t get up at all.
It’s OK to feel a bit nervous before a job interview. That’s good fear.
It’s bad fear if you allow it to stop you from applying for jobs and advancing your career.
Poet Robert Frost once claimed that, “the poet’s utmost goal is to lodge a few poems where they will be hard to get rid of.”
It’s certainly a goal that he achieved, with his body of work and influence continuing, even though he died 50 years ago.
You may not be able to write poetry like Frost (I know I can’t), but you can still aspire to do work that lasts.
To lodge poems “where they will be hard to get rid of” doesn’t mean that everything you do will have lasting value.
I’m sure that even a man of Frost’s undoubted talent wrote some rubbish poetry. Not everything that he wrote would have been published or read by others.
But he kept writing in the knowledge that if he kept working on his craft and if he was bold enough to put it in front of an audience, then some of it would lodge.
I know that sometimes what you’re doing can be difficult.
I know that sometimes you feel like giving up.
I know that sometimes you feel that what you’re doing doesn’t matter and that no-one notices your effort.
But before you stop, let me encourage you to do just one more.
Just one more push up.
Just one more page (whether you’re reading or writing).
Just one more phone call.
There are a lot of skills that are helpful when you’re looking for work.
You need initiative, resilience, writing skills, the ability to utilise your personal network and of course, all of the relevant skills to actually do the job that you’re applying for.
But there is one skill that is more important than any other.
It’s a skill that when combined with the above attributes can help to jettison you into your dream job.
One of my favourite bloggers is Michael Hyatt and he recently shared a story about an experiment that was conducted a few years ago by a marine biologist.
The biologist placed a barracuda into a small tank and then added some small bait fish.
As you would expect, the barracuda quickly ate the smaller fish.
Then the researcher inserted a piece of glass into the tank, creating two separate sections. He put the barracuda on one side and new bait fish into the other.
The barracuda immediately attacked.
This time, however, he hit the glass and bounced off.
Undaunted, the barracuda kept repeating this behaviour every few minutes.