One of my dreams is to act in a film with my hero, Kermit the Frog. I love his natural optimism and team leadership as he artfully leaps from mayhem to mishap with his company of “frogs and dogs and bears and chickens and things” in pursuit of their dreams. In The Muppet Movie, they trek across the country through one misadventure after another until they rambunctiously arrive in the office of The Big Hollywood Producer, played by the indomitable Orson Welles. He glowers at the ragtag gang for several long moments, then summons his secretary to fetch the “Standard Rich and Famous Contract.” Jubilant Pandemonium! Slap-happy Music Reprise! Crack-brained Credits! The Blissful End!
Hooray for them!
With all its plot twists, comedy and calamity, our professional pathways may at times resemble a riotous Muppet caper—only with fewer frogs and dogs and bears and chickens and things! Our dreams may tug us through out-of-the-waypoints, rough-and-tumble passages, monotonous slogs, and untimely detours before we rise in clearer skies to more spectacular vantage points.
Meanwhile, it’s a spectacular tour of duty in which we discover the productive profits of collaboration and creativity to win over problems, plights and predicaments.
While you are not where you want to be, and it is not comfortable where you are, do not expect things to just fall from the clear blue into your waiting lap. That “Standard Rich and Famous Contract” just for showing up? It only happens in movies and fairytales. Instead, look for productive things to do. Volunteer for more duties. Develop new ideas. Keep busy. Be persistent and consistent. Seek out what’s next. Partner with others in team dreams for mutual goals.
Such are the things that lead to others that help you get where you want to go.
Early in my career, about half of my time was contracted out by my employer to another fledgling organization. My office was in a refurbished barn with a very cold concrete floor. And while I froze my lonely winter tootsies in that place with too little to do, I drafted a comprehensive development plan to detail what I thought was needed to advance its reach and influence. Unexpected but well received by my too-many bosses and their associates, it became the Center’s guide to growth and significance. It also helped me get my first executive position in the profession later that same year, which in turn trained me to establish my own successful business a little later on.
Determine organizational needs and seek to fill them. Do what you can. Then do more than what you can by enlisting the synergy of others. You’ll be surprised how well you’ll thrive.
Pitch pines, while possessing the same basic traits as ordinary trees, and subjected to the same environmental conditions as all other living things in their habitat, have nonetheless acquired specific ways to survive and thrive after a forest fire—making them a most valuable asset of the forest. They have developed:
- extra thick bark that protects underlying living tissues.
- an extensive root system and high resin content that provide excellent regenerating support.
- dormant buds hidden in the bark that can resprout even if all the needles and the entire canopy is destroyed, and;
- two kinds of pinecones—one that releases its seeds every year, and another whose seeds cannot be released until after the cones are scorched by wildfire.
Like the pitch pines, create multiple areas of significance to overcome obstacles. Look for ways to maximize your value while adding value to others and your organization. Develop that website, podcast, book, feature, or publicity campaign. Research. Experiment. Volunteer to help with a colleague’s/boss’s/ professor’s project. Write. Design. Partner. Scheme. The strides of progress may be incremental at first, and barely noticeable—but taken together help fulfill your dream.
How have you partnered and contributed to advance in your profession? Let me know!
MasterPoint: Add synergy to significance to multiply value and attain achievement.