Now Departing: Lessons from Alcatraz

While catching up with some of my favorite folks at Salesforce.com’s annual AMAZING Dreamforce 2010 global gathering, I kept running into people who were feeling a bit stuck. Some reported that they were excited for the future, but just not sure about “What’s Next” might mean for them. Others knew they had a problem with their NOW situation and were overwhelmed with what, how, when to do about it.

All of them had jobs. That’s the first thing that struck me. My take on this – even in my own NOW – is that we’re uber-smart or uber-lucky to have been delivered to a profession that is in demand now and will be in even greater demand in the future. But this blog isn’t only for people like us. I’m just pointing out that if you’re employed at all today, you’re one of the lucky ones. Don’t forget it and BBlook for ways to give back.  In the U.S., walk into a room with 10 people and one of them will be out of work. Another one will most likely be under-employed. If you’re working at all you’re fortunate. Network your colleagues less fortunate on your social feeds. Offer time or resources to helping get people back on their feet. A couple of things will happen as a result: you’ll appreciate your current reality in a new light and good things will happen for other people. It’s a win-win.

About the “What’s Next” dilemma…

Talented people want to be recognized, challenged, and compensated. We want to be a bit famous in our own stratosphere. This means recognized for our contributions and challenged to bring more to the table. These folks need to feel their moral compass is aligned with their employers’ or clients’. If not, it’s a deal breaker. These are people working from a place of passion, and passion ignites innovation when nurtured. So that “What’s Next” feeling is natural for passionate folks.

If you’re one of the people wondering what is just beyond the horizon for you, I want to share what I learned while visiting Alcatraz Island yesterday. While on the penitentiary audio tour, I found myself standing in front of the solitary confinement cells. The Hole. A former inmate incarcerated at Alcatraz explained that while he lived for 23 hours a day in complete darkness and isolation for months at a stretch, his mind was free to travel. He closed his eyes and envisioned light. He left his isolation even if only in his mind and traveled freely where he chose. This was his mechanism to cope with his current reality.

It hit me in a profound way. Not only because this man was expressing so beautifully the human reality of perserverance. but also that his solution is so powerful for all of us.

Even in those moments where we aren’t ready or aren’t able to make a move, our minds are free to wander.

Creative, passionate people: Is your mind free to wander? Or is your mind tied up with circular thinking on unhappiness? Solutions are born when you’re open to conceiving them. Quit ruminating on what you’ve already defined as unacceptable. You’re clear on that, now move on. Seth Grodin has a great blog on using your current reality as a platform for change. Then remember: you don’t have to be able to see every twist and turn and end state clearly to begin the “What’s Next” phase of your journey. Just be open to the journey and the adventure of it all.

“What’s Next” is the adventure you create. Close your eyes and Dream Big.

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2 Comments

Filed under Corporate Culturati, CRM Evangelization, life-work balance

2 responses to “Now Departing: Lessons from Alcatraz

  1. Pingback: Monday AM Admin: Dreamforce Inspiration «

  2. Brandy

    Good stuff CRM Jen. Thanks!

    Like

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