Are you where you need to be today?
No, I didn’t say want to be, because what we want and need can be two totally different concepts.
I want to be on the boat floating down the Inter Costal Waterway outside of Jacksonville, North Carolina today. Enjoying a cold Pepsi, perhaps with a fishing pole in hand, with my good friend and former business partner Robert Fortin. Heck, I even tried to find a valid reason to do just that this week! Searched for seminars in the area that are business related, tried to schedule a meeting that would allow time off on the water afterwards, all sorts of things. But, alas, it wasn’t what I need to do.
I need to be right here, working on P&L statements, doing budget and equipment analysis, and making sure I am prepared for the meeting I ended up scheduling with investors tomorrow. Not as exciting perhaps, but much more important to the path I am on.
Ironically, the reason I am doing what I am today started many years ago. I put myself into the position I am in today by actions I experienced, planned and undertook all those years ago – and continue to do today.
We are where we are because of who we are.
On a frigid and snowy winter day in Minnesota about six years ago, I stood shivering looking at the vacant foreclosed house situated in a middle-class neighbourhood I had to inspect for a business I was a partner in.
I was tempted to get back in my nice warm car and simply drive away. What stopped me, though, was that I knew I was there that day because of a decision I had made to start down this path in business. I had no one to blame for the circumstances I was in but myself. I pulled up the hood on my coat and waded through the knee deep snow to the door.
What I didn’t know as I fumbled with the keys in my heavy gloves to open the door was that what I was about to see inside would put me here today – doing mundane business related tasks as I daydream about boats, bikinis, and sea bass.
How the past influences our vision.
It wasn’t the marks on the carpet or the broken windows covered with plywood that the flash-bang grenades had come through that caught my attention. Nor was it the volumes of personal items and trash left behind. What I had entered was a very advanced, and expensive, grow house for marijuana production that had been raided by local SWAT/DEA, and I saw (somewhere, in the back of my mind) potential.
No, this didn’t launch me on a quest to grow my own illicit fortune!
My involvement with farms and food production in the past tempered what I was presented with. I spent a considerable amount of time taking pictures of the lighting used, how they mixed and distributed the nutrients in a hydroponic solution (from the master bath no less), and maintained a controlled environment throughout the house.
After spending hours/days on a tractor in the fields as a kid, the concept -and the level it had been taken to – of growing something inside was new to me in many ways, and quite intriguing!
I locked the door behind me, waded back through the snow to my car, returned to the office and filed my report. The end, right? I thought so, but then . . .
What we have done shapes what we will do.
We all do it. We look at what we have done, determine which aspects we did well, and try to take that knowledge into the next path on the journey.
It doesn’t matter if you are the CEO of a major Corporation or the person that surfs TE’s daily. We take solace in how we pulled off that merger or nailed the header on that last list email. We celebrate our strong points and want to build on them. This is not only natural but a solid way of looking towards the future. After all, you wouldn’t want to try to develop something by doing all that stuff you weren’t good at, would you?
You know that nagging feeling you get, the one where you start to think about what you have done in the past, and now what you see before you may be worth pursuing as a result? How it wakes you up at night and you find yourself sitting in front of the computer (talking to yourself, in my case)? The conversations with friends center around -could I? Should I? Here, let me explain- and their eyes glaze over? Yeah, THAT feeling! It happened to me once again.
Focus on the need, the want becomes the benefits.
Many times what we need to do is not always apparent. We can become easily distracted by thinking what we want is what we need as well.
Once we begin to focus our energies and define what we need to move forward along the path, it becomes much easier to achieve what we want in the process. I didn’t want to freeze my tookus off that day. That was WAY down on my list! However, I could see the need to.
Sometimes the lessons in life are brought to us in strange ways. Had I not focused on the need to get that report done, someone else may have been sent to do the job I didn’t want to. I may well have missed the opportunity I am pursuing today.
So how did all this get me closer to what I want now? Simple! By taking care of the needs of the business then, I have a better understanding of what is expected to meet the need today. And as a result, I will be better equipped to enjoy that day, or maybe a week, on the waters of North Carolina in the future knowing that my business will not suffer as a result.
In closing (finally!)
Setting aside what we want, to accomplish what we need, may not come easily. I know I have made enough bad decisions in my lifetime! It is through the lessons we have experienced, and those of others, that we begin to define the skill set to make the right choices.
Do not fear mistakes. Everyone makes them. In fact, the greatest mistake you can ever make is NOT TRYING!
Take the time for introspection, see what life has taught you, and leverage that into the decisions you make today. You never know which experience may be the catalyst that moves you forward on the next path along the journey. The time spent in this may be the single best investment you make in business, and life.
Opportunity rarely comes to us easily. You have to seek it out, drag it back in, screaming and kicking the entire way. Don’t miss it by only doing what you want, do what you need. Make it happen!
With Sincere Thanks
“The only limits we have are those you impose upon yourself. Remove the limits!”
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2 thoughts to “Need – Want – And Life’s Lessons”
That’s a great post Rich and very awesome and written very well. So glad your past has helped you now. 🙂 I never dreamed my grammar classes in community college would help me get a job editing online! I had recently had a friend help me get an online freelance job editing. I can work 30 hours a week and get paid $ 9 an hour and not complaining. It adds up! I’m very grateful for it. Adkreator will take some time – doing well but not as big as it was when I bought it. I am grateful for my grammar and writing classes I took back in the late 80’s early 90’s!
We really are the cumulation of what we once were. Take pride in that!
Glad to hear that an opportunity has presented itself to you Barbara! You never know what doors may be opened, or when, by what we have done. Good stuff! 🙂