I could not imagine that I would be with my colleagues in Indonesia at the same time of my 3rd anniversary in Vox Teneo Macedonia. While waiting at the airport I have noticed an interesting advertisement:
Going the extra mile, why would I do that?
“Why would I do that?” I have asked myself that question so many times especially before making the crucial decisions. I have been working as a teaching assistant of mathematics at the oldest state University in Macedonia, I have been elected three times in a row as a Member of the Macedonian Parliament having huge experience in foreign policy and EU affairs, but at some point I have asked myself is that what I would still like to do? After deep consideration I have decided to leave both…I gave up decades of experience in my university and political career. It was not an easy decision neither easy to endure that though… It took around 3 years to find another job having so many burdens in my private life at the same time, but it was worth it! I am grateful for every single second and for every lesson learned…those are the kind of lessons that only life can provide…
So, when I decided what I don’t want to do anymore, I should’ve decide what I would like to do. Anything connected with the public administration was immediately out of scope, I cannot imagine myself going to work from 8am till 4pm, occupied with non creative responsibilities and rules that just need to be followed. I was thinking about engagement in International organizations where I could’ve used my competences as a policy maker and push changes in society from a different point but the real challenge for me was the private sector because I have never tried my skills in business and I was very curious if I can manage in that field… And everything started with that single question:
“Why would I do that?” How many times we have asked ourselves that question? How many times that question has become the obstacle for us, sometimes even unconsciously?! How many opportunities we have missed in our life only because we haven’t been brave enough and pass that extra mile in reaching the final step, making our wishes, our dreams come true…
Maybe we are not aware that the decisions that we are making on a daily basis, nevertheless if they are related with our private or professional life, have almost the same process as a project life cycle:
- Conceptualization, Observation and Analyze
- Planning and risk calculation
- Execution (developing and design)
You don’t believe me? Let’s see!
Case 1) You have finished school, started to work and at some point, you would like to buy your own apartment. You are going to several banks, asking for the opportunities and conditions, analyzing all possible solutions, making calculations if you can sustain that, making a plan for additional work if needed, wondering what will happen if you cannot pay the rates regularly and you have to make the decision whether you will make a step or not…You have to reconsider everything again and answer the question “Why would I do that? Is it worth it?”
So, you have two possibilities: to give up on the plan and postpone it for “some better times” but always wondering “What if…“or to take the risk and go forward, buy the apartment and successfully accomplish the plan. l. It is just one step…
Case 2) Last summer, my friends went on a holiday and they were telling us stories from their trip. One of the stories is appropriate example for the subject and I will share it with you.
So, they were by the swimming pool observing an extremely pretty girl that was alone…analyzing and making a strategy on how to approach her, what to do, how long it will take to start conversation, what if she embarrassed them…and they decided to focus more on other two girls, not so attractive, but they were sure that they will have a success there without major effort or risk, pretty much comfortable…So, they have decided to give up on the beautiful girl…but, what if…? Oooo I am sure that you can imagine what they were willing to describe, all the steps and possible situations… I will spare you from those details…
Case 3) The Elephant Rope story
As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not. He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” the trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”
I wonder how many small ropes “tied” to our legs are breaking our opportunities to achieve great things…
Case 4) The Obstacle in our Path
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but not one of them did anything about getting the stone out of the way.
Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.
The peasant learned what many of us never understand: “Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.”
The story is a message that we shouldn’t be discouraged by the obstacles, they might lead to something incredible! Just remember how many successful people, even some of the richest people in the world started at the beginning having only an idea, a dream and the will to fulfill it. For most of them, it didn’t come over the night or by inheriting a fortune, but with hard work, a lot of effort and sacrifices, removing the obstacles, learning how to stand up quickly after falling, how to be patient, determined and persistent in achieving a goal.
Here are couple of examples:
Case 5) The Pierre Omidyar way.
In 1995, a computer programmer Pierre Omidyar started auctioning off stuff on his personal website AuctionWeb. It started as a personal project, but, when the amount of web traffic made it necessary to upgrade to a business Internet account, Pierre had to start charging people fees. He hired his first employee to handle all the payment checks and built a “monster” that is now known today as eBay.
Case 6) The Matt Maloney and Mike Evans way. Everything started one night back in 2004 in Chicago, when a couple of hungry software developers, who were working late in the night got fed up of searching for takeout restaurants, raised the question: “Why isn’t there a one-stop shop for food delivery?” That’s when the pair decided to start GrubHub, which has quickly become a popular dinner option for harried workers. Up to 2014, nearly 50%of orders were placed via mobile devices providing the offer from 30,000 Restaurants, 700 U.S. cities, 175,000 orders per day, $1 billion Gross food sales via Grubhub in 2013 and valued at more than $3 billion.
Case 7) Elon Musk case.
It is not easy to succeed in the business world. It is not easy to succeed in our personal life either! But, the most important thing is that there is always a way, it is always possible to overcome anything, from losing the people who were precious to us, fails when we hoped for success, poverty and many many more.
Whatever is the reason, instead of giving up, pick yourself back up!
Just make that step and…move…forward