To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven
Admittedly, I’m reusing the intro to a previous post about change … but once again it is totally applicable. Whether you attribute this quote to the song from the mid 1960s from The Byrds – Turn! Turn! Turn!), or go even further back to its original source from King Solomon, the context implies a sense of change … over the course of time, things are not going to stay the same.
Looking back over the course of my career, I can certainly see the truth in this. And I know I’m not the only one. Think about it, (and in sticking with the theme of the song) haven’t you experienced …
- jobs you’ve enjoyed, and jobs you’ve endured
- leaders you’ve admired, and those you’ve disdained
- teams with chemistry, and teams with dysfunction
- projects that have succeeded, and projects that failed
The reality is change is neither good nor bad necessarily … it just is.
And while we cannot always control our circumstances or external factors precipitating change, we can control how we respond. I’ve found often times people approach change with a sense of trepidation … a sense all will be bad. I prefer to use these times of transition as an opportunity to reflect. And I was actually encouraged to do so recently by someone who is coaching me.
When it comes to changes, transitions, or lows in life, there is a story I like to use to illustrate a principle. Start by envisioning mountains representing the highs, and valleys representing the lows.
If you have ever traveled to a mountainous region, you will likely have noticed what is referred to as the tree line … the altitude at which trees can no longer grow (or if you’ve never seen it personally, the picture is a good illustration). Likewise, if you’ve spent much time in valleys you will likely have noticed farmland … where the soil is fertile. Or put another way, you are exposed to a bunch of crap!! But … the crap (in life or in the valley) is what spurs growth.
So what is the point? Well, in life much like on the mountain, when you are experiencing the highs it is unlikely you will be experiencing much growth … because you won’t necessarily be looking for ways to challenge yourself. Conversely, in the lows of life, much like being in the fertile farmland of the valley, growth is more likely to occur.
So as I approach my own transition, my coach has encouraged me to use something he refers to as Mirrors (looking backward), Crystal Balls (looking forward), and Sharp Objects (things to be aware of). I am in the Mirrors phase right now, and using the time to be intentional about reflecting on what has gotten me to where I am today. This can then be used to guide my thoughts about where I want to go, and how I want to grow.
As I began the process, I spent some time looking back on many of the posts I’ve shared over the years to remind myself of where I draw my energy. One thing in particular that stood out to me is the concept of thriving I’ve referred to in several posts. I learned this concept at a Leadership Summit I attended many years ago, and essentially thriving occurs at the intersection between your passion, your skills, and your point of purpose/impact.
So in the bit of down time preceding the Thanksgiving Holiday, I reflected on each of these three elements. I’ve captured my initial thoughts coming out of the exercise by updating the Intro section of my LinkedIn profile … helpful for me certainly, and I’m hoping helpful for you (in concept at least) as well.
On to the next phase of the exercise … the Crystal Balls and the Sharp Objects!