No organisation ever plans to fold but many do. No businessperson ever means to go bankrupt but many do. Noone ever plans to get caught up in shameful behaviour, ruin their reputation and lose the things they hold dear but sadly, many do.
It always starts so well. There’s normally a product or a vision or an idea of how the world could be different. Early on, it seems that the vision is all that is needed. Things move, change is made, people grow personally, financially and spiritually and it feels like nothing could go wrong.
But something always goes wrong. Perhaps a big opportunity is missed or a wrong decision is made or a flaw is discovered. Suddenly, that fire of vision that drove everything along is dampened by the soiled water of fear, territorialism, self-centredness and confusion.
Most of us recognise that feeling all too well. It’s the nagging emptiness that tells you that the passion you had isn’t quite the same any more. It’s the discomfort of knowing that you just spent days working on something that you have no interest in but seems annoyingly necessary. It’s the hollowness of realising that your life is no longer consumed by passion but is spent in meetings about meetings.
So what do we do? Some, the few, the brave, the wise, realise that all of this has happened because the original vision and passion has been lost. They recentre their lives, rediscover their old dreams and, to use the words found in the book of Revelation, “come back to [their] first love.” It might be hard at first. It might mean saying “no” where previously you have said “yes.” It might mean uncomfortable change but they know it is worth it.
Some, however, go in the opposite direction. They replace a passion to bring change for a passion for spreadsheets, figures, procedures and administrative minutiae. There is nothing inherently wrong with spreadsheets and figures. In fact, used correctly they can actually be tools to help us check how close to our vision we are. On the other hand, noone ever had a vision for a company that had excellent procedures or perfectly aligned spreadsheets. The danger in focussing on these things is that they can become all-consuming.
Any time the focus is on tools above the original vision something valuable is lost. Passion for service and love gets exchanged for passion for position and power. A desire for change becomes a desire for promotion and a seat on a committee. And then, with the real vision lying dismembered across a thousand cross-disciplinary sub-committees, it’s all gone.
The truth is, we always have a choice. There is always another opportunity to rediscover what we were made for and live in that reality again. This is why, for the next few weeks, I will be unapologetically talking about the things that brought me into the world of language services in the first place. These posts are inspired by the journey of ex-Deliriou5? front man, Martin Smith, as he recounts it in his autobiography: Delirious. For the next few weeks, you will hear the real me. Hopefully, it will inspire you to be the real you too.