The Tao – or the way things are – is like a river. Sometimes flowing this way, sometimes that. Sometimes slow, sometimes fast. Sometimes gently, sometimes turbulently. The connection to our business/personal development is clear. Sometimes business goes smoothly, sometimes our career goes smoothly. At other times the whole show can go over the edge of a waterfall (cue pretty pic :-))
So what to do about this? How to go beyond trite metaphor to practical application?
A small digression to give perspective.
I recall reading a description of how Orthodox Christianity views sin. The image that stuck in my mind was that there is a smooth road with bumpy gravel at the side and rocks further off. This might be illuminated by knowledge that the Greek word for sin in the bible is amartia – “missing the mark”. So from this perspective it is not so much “being bad” per se but rather missing out on the smooth way.
In a similar vein as all good canoeists know – to flow along smoothly and avoid struggle – one works with the river not against it.
So applying this to business development and ones own career development we can use times when we find ourself struggling to ponder whether this isn’t telling us something important… Are we missing out on the smooth road? Are we paddling like fury in the wrong direction? Are we using outdated 20thC ideas and approaches in the 21stC?
In a prior post I flagged up Mitch Joel’s Reboot “Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends on It”. It’s a little bit poorly entitled as, as many have pointed out, rebooting your PC just gets it back into the state it was in. Anyway catchy title, good for sales. Mitch has his own ideas but the underlying problem he is addressing is that we have been through a discontinuity … not just the banking crisis but more fundamentally the “digital age”. Most of us are still paddling in the way we inherited pre-digital. But maybe this doesn’t work so well?
So next time you find yourself struggling take a step back – especially from the modern vibe of “more work” – pause, take a coffee or a walk by yourself and ponder whether there isn’t a smoother road, a more harmonious way to paddle. A changing world but a static approach is a recipe for struggle.