Leadership Solutions from Read Solutions Group: Faster Than the Current

Monday, January 15, 2007

Faster Than the Current

“You know about boats. You can’t steer if you’re not going faster than the current. If you’re not under your own steam then yer just debris, stuff floating.”
Tim Winton, Cloudstreet

Change is so difficult. You first must decide the direction to head and then overcome inertia. It is frightening; for with each change comes the loss of some things and the gain of others. The unknowns – “is this the right thing to do”, “what if I fail” – can easily grow out of proportion with the possible outcomes. Finally, if inertia has not kept you in place, habits often draw you back.

The reality is that the world is changing. Our bodies are aging. Our jobs are redefined in response to the latest quarterly earnings report. Our boss moves on and the focus shifts. Our companies are bought or sold. Our friends, as well, see their lives changes. The needs of our children change from year-to-year, if not day-to-day. The world around us whether weather, technology, the latest war, medical advances, moves forward at in inexorable pace. Isaac Asimov said, “It is change, continuing change, inevitable change that is the dominant factor in society today.” The current of change is tremendous.

Perhaps it becomes important when contemplating change to consider the current. “If you’re not under your own steam then yer just debris, stuff floating.” When we stick with the safety of inertia, we’re just drifting, floating like some debris. Only when we’re under our own power, we will be able to manage the change and have some level of control.

If you have been drifting along with the current of change, gaining control of the boat may take some time. Asking yourself to define your passion and deciding where and how you want to live all at once may be too much.

Begin with just a few questions:
1. What adjectives would like used to describe you? Examples might be: caring, compassionate, professional, successful, creative, powerful, trustworthy.

2. As you look at the elements of a Wheel of Life, over the next few years, where do want to place your emphasis?

3. If your life were to come to an abrupt end in 5 years, you were described by your answers to question 1, and had accomplished much in the areas of life you emphasized in question 2, would you feel that you had lived the right way for you? If not, you may want to re-evaluate your answers.

4. Create a dream map, by drawing, cutting out pictures, or making a list of all of the things, people and feelings you would like to have in your life. Work this picture until all of the parts truly reflect what you want for yourself.

What are some (small) steps that you can take that move you out of the current into steering your ship in the direction of the person you will be, with the right emphasis, to realize your dreams?

Winton, Tim. Cloudstreet. Ringwood, Victoria: Penguin Books Australia, 1991.

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