When I look back at the days that I believe were days when I grew the most in my life and compare them with the times I was most bored and wanted to just run away, the common part in all of them was long days with same work day in and day out. However, I realize that the difference, between periods of growing and periods of ennui, came from the following:
- In the growth periods, I had ideas, I had opinions that I wanted to test out. While the work was same day in and day out – how I did it and what I expected out of it was different on a daily basis! Compare that with the drab days … only opinions are on what should not be done, only ideas are what has not worked, and the feeling of “I knew it …this was going to bomb”!
- A very important difference was trust. In growth phase, I remember that I had an implicit trust in people and when someone did something wrong repeatedly, I would just get together with them to figure out how to do it right. However, this same me behaved differently in the ‘bad’ times – I would regularly fight, shout and beat down people, not tolerant of a single mistake.
- And interestingly, in growth times, I seemed to know each and every detail of the what was going on in projects, in team member’s lives, and even customer thinking. The "down" times had quite a contra view … I was complaining that I didn’t have time to look at everything, nobody keeps me updated, how am I to do anything if customers keep changing their stance and so on.
So it becomes obvious that in growth periods, I believed.. and I was driving the change, believed that I was making a difference. Whereas in the period lacking growth – rather slipping downwards … I felt and believed that I was being led by someone else and most of the times the leader was making mistakes!
The challenge then is not just reaching the precipice but sustaining the drive at the precipice. The key is understanding the difference between rhythm and routine. To watch out that the repeating activities do not become mechanical in approach but continue to open up something new/fresh every day/every time.