The end of the third quarter of the calendar year is upon us! Or did I really need to remind you?
Does this Tuesday after Labor Day 2011 find you sitting listlessly at your desk after a long, relaxing, fun weekend? Are you once again driving miles to see a client who (hopefully) won’t stand you up? Perhaps you are seated in front of the computer monitor, engaged in yet one more CAD/CAM/CAE redesign or rework of a customer’s product. On the phone or headset, dialing for dollars as you churn and burn to fill your/your company’s pipeline with somebody – anybody – who might be “sales ready?”
Honestly, what’s the meaning of it all? Wondering WIFM? (Translation: What’s In It for Me?)
So are your customers, your colleagues, your management, your company, the stockholders, the stakeholders and just about anyone else you come into contact with. The level of transactional frustration is palpable. Wish you could put that into a bottle and sell it? It might be profitable, because it’s certainly the popular flavor of quite a few months now.
The majority of folks are stuck in a rut. But it’s so exciting out there! Look at all the information whizzing around, so much transient entertainment created by “news” and “no-so-much-news-but-sensational-gossip” sources. Video games we can “play” so we can blow everyone up. And TV shows and movies to exterminate everyone else who hasn’t been dealt with online. Wow, that’s enough to make you want to get up out of bed every morning. The world seems to be rushing around us at one million miles per hour, in all directions, simultaneously!
So why do we feel so bored and out of it?
Perhaps it’s because we are relying on others to provide our personal and professional motivation. We want our lives to be like those of the folks we see on television reality shows or in movies. We see ourselves as inconsequential cogs in the corporate wheel. We want what we do to “matter”, be recognized. We want to make a difference.
Ah, but here is the double-edged sword.
In order to make a difference, to be recognized, we need to take risks, go out on a limb, stand for something, and stand up to someone. We need to move outside of our comfort level. We need to be prepared to withstand the criticism that our actions might receive. We need to be able to articulate ourselves and move forward, not retreat, because we will most certainly be misunderstood by many folks who are made uncomfortable by our choices, words and actions.
Thomas Merton perhaps said it best when he wrote: “The logic of worldly success rests on a fallacy: the strange error that our perfection depends on the thoughts and opinions and applause of other men! A weird life it is, indeed, to be living always in somebody else’s imagination, as if that were the only place in which one could at last become real!”
Yep, it’s risky out there if you engage in meaningful and valued WIFM. Because your actions will impact others, as well.
Better to retreat back to your cubicle and have that second cup of coffee. So much for making a WIFM difference. Then again, think about it.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo and business- and revenue-producing collaboration and communication tools to small and mid-sized businesses and startups. She was named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers 2013-2016. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? focuses on technical / non-technical collaboration strategies and tools and is available on Amazon.