Wednesday, 27 February 2008

The necessity of necessity

Most entrepreneurs, when making yet more money selling their autobiographies, mention the jumps or growth spurts they make when expanding the boundaries of their business or themselves. These are the moments when they're catapulted into a newer, larger arena. A place where they're the new kid, the small fish in a bigger pond. We all know that a goldfish will live quite happily in a goldfish bowl for years but it won't get much longer than about three inches. If that same fish survives being moved into a larger tank it'll grow bigger. That goldfish could even grow into a 20-inch carp-sized monster if it successfully adapts to life in a large pond. It's that move from the small and familiar into the big and strange that encourages and stimulates growth.

Geoff Thompson has said in many of his books that he draws inspiration from notable success stories like Sir Richard Branson. Richard's method of growing into something takes an amazing mixture of charisma and courage. A great example that Geoff quoted was the time when Branson bought his own island. At the time the Virgin King certainly didn't have enough money of his own to buy a whole island, he just persuaded a group of financiers to lend him the money and when he had the island he then figured out what he had to do to afford the repayments. Geoff himself used the same method (on a much smaller scale) to expand his book sales: he rented more space than he needed in order to store all the books he had to sell and then said to himself "My God, I'd better get out there and sell as many books as I can to be able to pay for this." What they both did was to deliberately put themselves in a situation where they had no choice but to grow.

Ordinarily this would be yet another post where I regurgitate a few muddled concepts gleaned from various books I've read over the years and cobble together a pseudo-intellectual take on some over-worked subject matter. However, a couple of things have come together and made a difference. Last week I was called into a 1-1 with my line manager and given a minor roasting about the decline in the quantity and quality of my work over the last few weeks. Over the weekend I thought about the situation and before lunchtime on Sunday I was already depressed about the idea of going into work on Monday. Then my girlfriend reminded me that I said way back in October 2007 that I wanted to get a new job by Christmas and I've quite obviously failed to do anything about it other than complain about my current job. (She just reminded me about my statement of intent, not the ineffective bleating I've been doing since then) Add the castigation to the procrastination and what emerged was a glimmer of inspiration.

Today I handed in my notice at work. I gave them 2 months instead of 1, partly because it always takes ages to recruit new staff and they're struggling with their workload already, partly because it gives me a little extra time to find a new job. I'll need the time because I haven't even applied for a new job yet, let alone been offered one. There's a good chance I'll end up doing yet another tedious admin job for a while, maybe even for the same employer, but at least it'll be in a different environment and I'm looking forward to something new. Anyway, the basic idea was to inject some necessity into the situation and force a change. Now we'll see what happens.

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