Tis a cold and blustery day on the plains of Eastern Colorado. As the wind howls and the temp drops, I find solace in the comfort of my nice warm office. Surrounded by aspects familiar to me provides perceived value to the environment. The diagrams drawn on the whiteboards, the post-it notes haphazardly stuck around my desk, a game on the tablet beside me, my books. Yes, it would be very easy to relinquish any desires to venture into the realm beyond these walls and be exposed to the elements outside. I am, quite simply, comfortable . . . and that has to change!
How we value the past influences the future
Our past, and how we evaluate it, helps determine the actions we take.
Sitting here, everything around me symbolizes what was done in the past day, week, or in some cases, years. While it is important to remember the past, both the good and bad, simply savoring those aspects of what was accomplishes nothing without taking action on what will be.
Over in the CTP Teams Talk (Not a member? Become one! Ask Mr. Olson.) Skype room today, there was a discussion about how things used to be back-in-the-day. How the value of networking influenced the TE/Marketing model and benefited those involved.
Yes, those were indeed, some exciting times. The ideas, and actions, derived from this networking environment, allowed many to move beyond where they were, achieving far greater results than could ever be seen working alone. Alas, it was this level of -success- that ultimately brought the discussions to an end.
You see, some people became comfortable with what they had achieved. Actions were taken, businesses developed, profits made. No need to continue, they had -arrived- at the destination.
True value is seeing what it continues to offer, not that which has been realized
A VERY small group knew that what they had achieved merely led to the next path on the journey and continued, albeit in more of a closed loop environment.
Sure, they took the time to become comfortable with what had been accomplished. You do need to reflect on how you arrived at this point. Use this period to your benefit and focus your efforts to maximize returns on investment. But you also need to be wary of becoming complacent, so enshrined in the past that the future begins to fade.
Beware, as the path to the dark side can be quite seducing, and lead you to believe you have -arrived- at the epitome of success. When, in fact, it is a journey filled with missed opportunities, false hope, and diminishing returns – all because you decided the comfort and fun of where you are today was, somehow, more important than embracing the learning curve needed to find the value of tomorrow.
The writing is on the wall(s)
Yes, I am quite comfortable sitting in my office right now.
I am surrounded by the memorabilia of what was accomplished from those networking opportunities, all displayed to remind me of lessons learned, and those without whom I could never have accomplished any of it.
What about the numerous whiteboards and notes covering the desk and walls?
Although filled with never ending design changes (there is a reason the ink is removable, nothing is static), hectic meeting schedules, long hours, and considerable effort/money yet to be invested, they represent the comfort I get from knowing that the path to future opportunities is there to follow. Providing I am willing to embrace the chaos, step outside, and achieve it.
And now the time to turn this off, put on my winter gear, and see what the day brings has come. No, freezing my tookus off outside will not be as comfortable and fun as where I was, but I choose to overcome the obstacles and do what needs to be done. Who knows, tomorrow may offer far more value, or problems, than what I had today. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to move forward only to remain stuck in the comfort of the past.
What about you? Are you willing to forgo some comfort, step outside the past, assume the risks, and follow the path?
You will never find the rewards if you don’t continue the journey.
[P.S. I forgot to publish this before I left today. Here is an update:]
Yeah, it was COLD where I had to go! Temps dropped into the mid-teens (Fahrenheit) before I was done, with wind gusts that created their own issues. I may have uttered a few choice words about leaving the office to come out along the way, but by the end of it all, it was an adventure well spent (and I’m sure my toes will thaw eventually).
I had the option to stay warm today. Had I done so, the problem(s) I needed to address would have only compounded, as it is now snowing with forecasts not any more favorable than today. Also, a package of needed marketing materials arrived ahead of schedule, and I now have tomorrow open to take advantage of the possibilities that will allow (and stay warm as a bonus). Win/win!
Yes, I can hear the “But I work from home, online, so it’s different for me” thoughts.
Business IS business, no matter the model. The problems may be different in nature, but they still need to be solved. Either you do what is needed to resolve them, or learn to be -comfortable- where you were. The choice, as always, is yours.
With Sincere Thanks
“The only limits we have are those you impose upon yourself. Remove the limits!”
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