Thursday, June 13, 2013

Solving problems is like shaving

Have you ever noticed that every time you shave, the hair begins to grow back within hours? Shaving is a temporary solution to an everyday problem.

Think about the time spent each day you spend with the electric razor working to get every single hair clipped off or maybe you're a purest who uses a straight blade and cream. Regardless of the approach, the truth still remains, that hair will grow back and will need to be shaved again tomorrow.

Why do we handle problems like we do our hair stubble? We act as if we can somehow remove the issue for a while, but we know tomorrow the problem will be back. We spend time each day to remove the unwanted issue so those who interact with us won't notice it exists.

We have several reasons for not wanting to fix a problem permanently: time, money, effort, true desire to change, and exposure to the situation. \

Staying with the shaving illustration, waxing works as well but can be painful, costly, and then there are those red marks left for a little while after the procedure. I once met with a student who had huge red marks all around his eyebrows. (If you know me, you know I embrace my large eyebrows.) I finally asked him if he was okay because I had never seen marks like that before. After he told me he feared the ever present uni-brow, he decided he would rather wax it and live with the pain and minimal razzing he would receive from his buddies over the constant shaving and serious razzing he would likely receive.

And then there is laser treatment. I have only heard from those who had a procedure, but the treatment does not sound painless or cheap. A more permanent solution comes at a cost.

As leaders we ought to seek the more permanent solution. Sometimes the cost is too great and would cause a social outcry, but temporary solutions aren't really solutions. Temporary-fix is an oxymoron. Look for ways to make a permanent change in your life, family, and workplace.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Choosing the A to Z Path

You only get one shot at life, live wisely. For a while, I thought you could script the path to attaining your goals. There was no such thing as " right place at the right time." Everything revolved around strategy; you had to make it happen. Just recently I had a big decision to make. I was convinced this decision would make a huge impact in my future career. I knew this was one of the opportunities that I needed to chase, but in my heart I knew it was probably not the best for me. Would it have been a fun opportunity? Yes. Would it have been excellent for my career? Yes. Would I have done well with this opportunity? Maybe. I asked myself these and 101 more questions. After seriously considering all of the options, strategy said yes but my heart said no. I took a big step back to realize I'm in a great spot right now and there's no need to move.

Sometimes strategy can cloud our vision. Strategy isn't a bad thing, but we must allow our emotions to come through at times. A lot of times we think of how to get from A to B. I would challenge you to think of it in a different way, think of it as getting from A to Z. With A to B there are no other options, it's a straight shot. Though it may be the quickest, there are no other options. There is no room for change of heart, there's no room for change in situation, and at times there's no room for family. The A to Z approach allows several different avenues and outlets to get from one point to the other.

The A to B approach puts blinders on you. There is something to be said for targeting a goal and then attaining that goal. However, these goals I'm talking about are not short-term. These goals are life goals. Life goals take time. Life goals take energy. And life goals take heart.

I'm fortunate that early in my career I've had the opportunity to be mentored by experienced professionals. If you have the opportunity to talk to any of them you'll notice one common theme; they all had different paths that got them where they are today.

There's no prescribed path for success. You must follow your heart, and at some point your heart may tell you to choose a different path or a different goal altogether.