Monday, December 10, 2007

Reach the top

We often think that, to reach the Top or to achieve a specific goal, we need that very special person, or a specific tool. For simple goals in life, like ’repairing the water closet’, that’s true.
In case of more complicated or ambitious goals, it’s not that simple.
Take the example of climbing one of the highest mountains in the world, e.g. the Himalaya.

To achieve an ambitious goal like that, it takes different instruments and help, depending on the phase you’re in:

  • Going to Tibet, your feet won’t help you, you’ll need an airplane
  • Climbing to the sub top, the airplane isn’t of any use, you’ll need the help of sherpa’s
  • Climbing the last 100 meters to the top, you don’t need sherpa’s, you’ll need oxygen masks

Beside this, it’s clear that in these cases you’ll need to develop a plan and divide the preparation tasks between the team members.

As you notice, just like climbing the K2, every new phase (in time or life) on the way to your (whatever) personal defined goal, urges a different kind of help.
Although this Himalaya example looks very simple, we often don’t act up on this insight.

Some simple examples:

  • We think the luxury car we bought will also help us in case we have to transport grass-patches.
  • We try to break down the wall with the help of a nail hammer instead of buying a brick hammer.
  • When filling in a vacancy, we keep searching for a candidate that is a ’sheep with five legs’.
  • After happy holidays with a new person we met, we automatically assume that this person shall become your best friend
  • You think that because your wife is a good mother, she will also have the skills to be your best business partner.
  • You think that because your husband is good at fixing a bicycle, he will also fix your TV set
  • We assume (implicit) that a successful manager in ’Greenfield operations’, will also be successful in case of a grown business.

Possible reasons for this blind sight are:

  • We like to stick to our positive experiences and translate or extrapolate the current developments linear to the future
  • We like to be ’penny wise’, but are (in fact) ’pound foolish’
  • We don’t want to disappoint our friends or family or we have unrealistic expectations about them

So don’t get stuck in the old axiom that

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to approach every problem in life as if it were a nail

Looking from another perspective. If circumstances, times or goals change and you no longer fit in an organizations’s or a relationships’s mission or goal, quitting, divorcing or getting fired is sometimes the best solution. These situations have in general nothing to do with worries like ’I wasn’t good enough’ or ’People don’t appreciate me’.

Pick up your hat and create new steps in life.
So stay awake to reach the top and dare to change people, instruments, your vision or yourself, if your goal urges you.

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