Monday, January 2, 2006

Where Are You Now?

Maybe because I'm shy,
Maybe because I'm smart,
Maybe because I'm egocentric or opinionated. But I like writing the essay type stuff so much more than the how my day went stuff. I had a kick ass New Year's Eve (thanks Kim). A little bit of stuff happened at work and some stuff at home, and I don't feel like writing about any of it.

I want to write about 'Where Are You Now?' I have a feeling it will come off a little preachy yet hopefully insightful.

The intuitive answer to the title question is geographic. But how many other "where's" are needed to explain the places you find yourself right now? Every decision you make, conscious or otherwise, there are forces that make certain options more or less appealing. Ultimately, you make the choice but to not acknowledge the influences upon us is, dare I say, niave. Every one of these forces, some more significant than others, can be thought of as a difference between where you are, and where you want to be. Though most of us have an imperfect picture of where we want to be I'm finding more and more that people don't know where they are.

It may seem like a silly question but if you would indulge me in a thought experiment: Close your eyes and feel yourself jumping. Note the motions and the forces as you do it and how high you go. You might want to do it a few times so that it feels the same way as it did the last time. Now, feel yourself doing exactly the same motions only this time on a trampoline. If you are actually following along with me you will find, perhaps counter-intuitively, that you barely move on the trampoline. If you use the same motions to jump on a trampoline as you do from solid ground most of your effort is wasted. To jump from a trampoline you have to use much bigger, slower, more fluid motions. When you do this your feet can clear two or three times the height they did before. So if you didn't realize you were on the trampoline you would have wasted alot of effort and missed out on a great opportunity. Now consider yourself on a rickety old wooden stool. Now jump... If you didn't know what you were standing on before you jumped you probably wouldn't be jumping for a while. Where you are matters.

I would want people to decide which maps are important to them but one example of a non-geographic map would be the professional map. Where are you professionally? In order to answer this quesion you will need a few landmarks. Jobs are very social so your main landmarks will likely be people. Those you work with directly most days; those you see every other day; those who work over those you work under and those they work for. Once you get so far out is may be more useful to start thinking in terms of departments or cooperating companies instead of people. Consider the kinds of relationships you have with those who have made it on your map and where it would be worthwhile to put some more effort.

The word here is 'opportunity'. I'm not asking which relationships are bad and telling you to fix them. Some relationships are bad would take far more attention to fix than they could ever return. What you want to look for are opportunities to make relationships better. Maybe it is an opportunity to make a horrible relationship bad, a good one great, or a fantastic one spectacular.

An important note is that there is no called strike. If there was an opportunity that you didn't see then it wasn't an opportunity. If you don't have the tools to recognize an opportunity in the moment then it isn't one and that's fine. If you dont see one then keep looking. Mind you this is not the same as idleness. You're scanning and watching and perhaps ready to strike at a moments notice. If an opportunity is only an opportunity when recognized the more you know about your map the better equiped you are to find them.

Finding opportunities and making use of them, then reapping the rewards and using them to look deeper. I would say that is what moving up and on is all about.

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