To Be, or to Do?

Sometimes, a quote is so powerful it needs no embellishing.

Tiger, one day you will come to a fork in the road and you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go.

He raised his hand and pointed.

“If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.”

Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed in another direction.

“Or you can go that way and you can do something- something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference. To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call.

That’s when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?

“John Boyd – the fighter pilot who changed thar art of war” R. Coram.

On Stage

going on stage

A large part of what I do with clients involves me standing back and noticing what’s going on for them, internally and externally in areas that are hard to monitor with data, but which can be sensed.

A large part of my “off site” load is reading and monitoring trends (I am a recent convert to Blinkist and Feedly which are great tools for filtering what to pay attention to)

What I am noticing is that the vast majority of articles, and good percentage of books that are written seem to be written for actors on a corporate stage. Full of different aspects of how to play your part better, find better “agents”, get noticed.

Person as role holder on a business stage in some form of soap opera.

I’ve often wondered what happens to actors in soap operas who have been playing a role for many years. Who goes home at night – the person, or the part? When do they notice?

I think that the most important task we have while we’re here is to be open to our calling and ready to listen to it when it appears. To make the fullest contribution we can with our unique individual talents. Not easy when the role is full on, but vital none the less.

William Stafford wrote it beautifully:

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among  things that change.  But it doesn’t change. People wonder about what you are pursuing. You have to explain about the thread. But it is hard for others to see. While you hold it you can’t get lost. Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die; and you suffer and get old. Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding. You don’t ever let go of the thread.

We are in times of unprecedented change that will change just about every aspect of how we work, and will rewrite many of the soap operas we are part of today. No matter how well we have played the part, it won’t stop our character being written out of the script.

What will matter, more than ever is who we are and the thread we are following.