Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who you want to be when you do that thing you do

We are who we choose to be.
~ Jim Raynor

Things are getting a bit crazy and still no blogging.  Trying to stay on top of crazy situations is difficult.  I don't know if I'll ever match up with what I experienced last year for a long, long time, but this is a nice reminder of how crazy it can get.

One moment that really stuck with me from my Olympic experience was sitting down with a bunch of people to sort out something important.  We laid out what the issues were, what the status of each issue was, what needed to be done to get those issues resolved, who would resolve each issue, and when each issue should be resolved.  This is basic problem solving and management 101.

Humbled through opportunities given despite the fact
That many misjudge him because he makes a living from writing raps
Put it together himself, now the picture connects
Never asking for someone's help, or to get some respect
He's only focused on what he wrote, his will is beyond reach
And now it all unfolds, the skill of an artist

The thing that stuck with me after that meeting was something someone from the venue management team said: "All right, Robert is the guy who gets things done!"  It was powerful to hear that.  It was satisfying because it's always nice to receive positive feedback.  It was humbling because it demonstrated that people were depending on me for really important things.  And it was inspiring because I realized I didn't want to just do my work; I wanted to develop a reputation that I was the guy to whom people could go to solve problems.  A clutch player who could get things done when the pressure was on.

Now in most situations, everyone depends on everyone else for something or other.  But some people will always be relied on a bit more than others.  It's their responsibility when things go bad, and it's everyone's reward when things goes right.  To bring your game face day-in and day-out with that type of environment can be difficult, especially when things are getting dreary.  The reward may or may not be worth it.  Besides that, who are you to say that you have what it takes over anybody else?  If your work is a place where value is demanded, not just desired, then you have to win every day, even though it's just not possible.  What have you done for me lately?

He often gets a comment on his name
People keep asking him was it given at birth
Or does it stand for an acronym?
No he's living proof, got him rocking the booth
He'll get you buzzing quicker than a shot of vodka with juice
Him and his crew are known around as one of the best
Dedicated to what they do and give a hundred percent

This is why it's so important for you to develop a foundation of yourself outside of work.  A sense of identity of who you are, so that when you fail at work, you won't just die from lack of self-worth.  Your faith, your family, your hobby, you name it.  Something that will keep you balanced when everything is up in flames and will keep you moving forward when the flames burst into a veritable forest fire.  Your work is not your life, it just gives you the means to live your life.  Go into the battle after developing your foundational self and getting life sorted out.  No athlete is able to compete at a high level until they're good at the basics first.

Then you stand on your foundation and work your butt off to make things right.  How do you do that?  OK, that's the subject of a number of posts I want to write.  But it goes without saying that it'll be a tough slog and you'll have to work your butt off.

Forget Mike - Nobody really knows how or why he works so hard
It seems like he's never got time
Because he writes every note and he writes every line
And I've seen him at work when that light goes on in his mind
It's like a design is written in his head every time
Before he even touches a key or speaks in a rhyme

It's cheesy, but one of the best sources of inspiration in this theme for me comes from the anime Naruto.  Hyuuga Neji is fighting against a ninja stronger than anyone he's ever fought before.  He's facing death.  But he pulls out all the stops and throws away his life to win.  One thought drives his last gasp.  He's always been called a genius prodigy, ever since his childhood.  People believe he's special.  And for the sake of people who believe in his abilities and the sake of the reputation he's cultivated, he isn't going to let some guy who just happens to be stronger than anyone he's ever faced defeat him.  It's partly pride, but it's also responsibility because so many are depending on him to get the job done.

Who do you want to be?  That statement still rings in my ears today.  "Robert is the guy who gets things done!"  Is it still true?  If it's not, why not?  Have I lost what gives me power and motivation?  Do I need to take a break and find myself again because I've been too eaten up by whatever I'm doing?  Am I just tired of it all?  These are the things that run through your mind when you start to lose control.  Self-doubt creeps in.  But if you've been through the wars, you know how to Step back, Assess, Recharge, and then Counterattack; let's call it SARC for short.  Just be prepared to work hard after you figure out what needs to be done.  And even more importantly, work hard first to figure out what needs to be done.  If you can figure out how to consistently and successfully SARC, people will remember you.  Your reputation will stand out.  They'll come back to you because you'll be the clutch player who can get things done.

This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill
Fifteen percent concentrated power of will
Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain
And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!

This post was brought to you by the insanity that my brain is trying to contain right now.  Things are busy.  :)  Just face each task thinking about what depends on that particular thing.  Nothing depending on you?  Maybe it's time to make a move.  Your call.  Don't want people to depend on you?  Well, you'll usually get what you ask for in that scenario.

Lyrics for Remember the Name written by Fort Minor.

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