Friday, October 7, 2005

Fire Yourself by Dan Miller

Of course you know the “frog in the kettle” story. If you throw a frog in a pan of hot water, he’ll immediately jump out. But if you put that frog in a pan of lukewarm water, you can slowly turn up the heat and that poor frog will cook to death sitting right there. The changes were slow and subtle and he just never responded at all.

I hear lots of fascinating stories from people who sound like that poor frog. Here’s a recent response from a reader in describing his work situation:

'I work as a rural letter carrier (a mail man). I have been at the same job, in the same Post Office, in the same town for 20 years. I hate the job! Have hated it for 15 years or so. Have hated it with a passion since my second son was born. It steals my life. I've stood it as long as I can. If I don't get out I'll drown or explode.'

Well at least he recognizes he’s in hot water. But with all the opportunities available today, why would someone spend 15 more years after realizing he hated the position? How does a person spend 40-50 hours a week doing something they detest? Maybe I’m just impatient, but if I’m in hot water, I start looking for an escape in about 15 minutes; not 15 years. The interesting thing in many situations like this is that the person eventually gets fired. (They usually set in motion subtle events to assure this.) And then he/she immediately begins to see all kinds of new possibilities for better options. Why is our vision so clouded by the status quo? Why is the “good” the enemy of the “best?” Why does it take getting fired to force someone to take the initiative in finding better choices?

Space does not allow room for even just my opinion on all of those tough questions. But I would recommend that you “fire yourself” today. Then tonight ask yourself:
  • What are my highest “areas of competence?”
  • How do those translate into marketable skills?
  • What are the companies, organizations or my own business that would welcome those skills?
  • Knowing what I know now, do I choose to work for the same company tomorrow? If so, I recognize it’s a good fit; I’m grateful for it and will make my finest contribution there.
  • If not, how can I create a 48 Day plan to begin a better life?
Don’t wait until you “drown or explode.” Get out of that hot water. Yes, there really are plenty of ponds with cool, clear, refreshing water just waiting for you


Dan Miller is President of The Business Source, in Franklin , TN , specializing in creative thinking for personal and business development. He believes the most effective life plans are achieved by integrating natural gifts, unique personality traits and one's own values and passions. Dan is the author of 48 Days To The Work You Love and 48 Days To Creative Income.

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