Sunday 28 November 2010

Eureka Moments

First published January 2010

When my colleague, mentor and friend decided that it is time for him to move on and to leave the company, we both felt that we should have one last quarterly review. These are those one to one meetings with a manager during which you are allowed to take the mask off and show your real face – if you have a manager like me, that is!

All those ‘Where are you standing now?’, ‘Where do you want to be in a years time?’, ‘What would help you to get there?’ things are discussed, and since some of you might know me by now, you can imagine that this means a lot of talking from my side, ranting, moaning and truely showing my real face. Kudos to this gentleman who gave me the opportunity to do this one last time, so that we both could close the case, probably with a bit of a relief from his end.

Although this meeting wouldn’t have any relevance to my work life anymore, he duly filled a page of notes, which at the end he handed to me with the words: 'There you are, now you can shred it'. Which I didn’t! This silly sheet of paper all of a sudden had quite a bit of sentimental value for me, and so I took it home.

Things got busy at work and during the run-up to Christmas, and this thing still was stuck in my bag, until after the break when it got cleared to get ready for work again. It stayed on my desk for a while, and yesterday, after a good three weeks, I eventually got to read it – well, sort of. I thought I had a bad handwriting, only fragments could be deciphered until I got to the last phrase:

2 years time – waiting for eureka moment.

Yes! I remember now that I once said something along those lines, that I am admiring people who have a skill they like so much that they don’t want to do anything else and hence are focused and successful. Apparently Churchill said something like: Find a work that you love and you will never work again! That is the sort of occupation I am looking for. Hence I am waiting for this one moment when the light is brighter, the music sounds better, the smells are more fragrant and I know that: This is IT!

As usual my dear mentor captured it perfectly in this simple phrase: waiting for eureka moment! And now that I read it so clearly, even with a time frame attached to it, I realised that my approach is wrong. It just is so wrong!

Again this brilliant man had thrown me a curveball, something to think about and to grit my teeth into. And this time it came from afar and I won’t have a follow up with the master. This one will have to be my very own masterpiece.

When he asked me two years ago what I would like to have achieved by today, I told him that I don’t want to be scared anymore. I want to lose the fear of people and situations. I want to be confident and be  respected as the person I am. Articles like ‘What’s the worst to happen’ ‘IAPU’ and ‘The Chicken Can Fly’ were the result of me digging my way through a mountain of issues. For those good two years he guided me to a confidence I never thought possible. I am not scared anymore. Well, of spiders, a bit, and I have respect for scary things like big wild animals or angry dogs. But I am not scared anymore!

And this was not achieved by waiting for it to happen. It was hard work, but nevertheless fun. It meant throwing myself into situations, approaching people, asking for feedback, being honest to myself  - oh, that was a biggie – learning about body language and how to phrase things right, writing about it to let others know, and doing it all over and over again.

Now I am at a new starting point and the question ‘Where do you want to be in two years time?’ is hovering in the room. What am I going to do with all this newly gained confidence? If I am not doing anything else but waiting – Why did I put in all this effort in the past?

I now know: It will be fun, the next two years, but it will be hard work as well. Eureka moments don’t just occur out of nowhere. One has to make them happen!

Dear John: THAT was my eureka moment. Now we have closure!

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