I am blogging from the roughest flight I have ever experienced in my life. We’ve been jerked and tossed and, three times, we’ve felt the panic that comes by a sudden downward plunge.
I’m sitting next to a really sweet, 22-year-old woman, a white-knuckled flyer who doesn’t enjoy the turbulence. I reassurred her that we’d be fine, but then it hit me — if you can’t make peace with the inevitable turbulance, you never get to go anywhere. It hit me that this flight is a metaphor for what many of us have experienced with our careers over the last 18 months.
Several months ago, I delivered a keynote for a high-budget, incredibly well-produced event. The association spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on production — and it showed. I told the producer how impressed I was and he said something so inspiring and memorable that I have treasured ever since.
“I haven’t worked in six months. I love what I do. I am fighting to be able to do the work I love.”
Those words never left me because it struck me that is what we are all doing now. We are fighting for the right to do the work we love. Basically, we’ve been asked to reapply for our jobs, then reapply ourselves to prove how much we deserve our success.
I know that many have found the challenges they’ve faced to be frustrating and unfair, but some of us have actually welcomed them and experienced a reward we wouldn’t have gotten if the economy hadn’t knocked us around a little bit. The turmoil forced us to refocus and recommit. Doing that has made me truly appreciate how lucky I am to be able to fight to do work I love so much. I remember another corporate speaker telling me, “My calendar is empty. How are we supposed to find anything at a time when corporations are laying off tens of thousands of people.” Maybe my business was a little lighter last year, but it was more fun because I used the opportunity to try some creative marketing techniques that worked. This year is turning out fantastic. But, again, I am fighting for the right to do the work I love — just like that producer, and just like everybody else.
Those of us who made up our minds to stop fixating on the turbulence of the economy and, instead, shift and turn and figure things out have, for the most part, done well in spite of the downturn. Those who thought they would wait until things got “back to normal” saw their businesses decimated. Those who kept on doing things the way they have always done them saw huge losses.
It was a bumpy flight, but the turbulence stopped. Amazing how that always works in this crazy life.
We’re landing now. Safe and sound.