Sunday, February 10, 2008

Digress to Find Success

What struck me most was the similarity between our early career path. Both started out in IT after graduating from college. Both worked for major IT corporations and invested heavily in learning the business of IT. After about five years of working shoulder to shoulder, the paths diverged. The other person in the above situation is a very successfull IT small business owner which whom I had dinner last night.

Follow the steps
In IT lingo my situation is called a “straight line variant”. A straight line variant is the routine and normal business process progression. For example - customer walks in, picks up a product and pays for it. Straight line variants are sequential, predictable and maybe even boring. Why is my life a straight line variant – because I have followed the predictable pattern of education, job, promotion, buy a house, buy stuff, save for retirement and hope there is enough in the end?

Variations occur when you throw in exceptions, special situations, what-if scenarios and other decision points. For example the customer walks in, picks up a product, notices a new gadget (digressing from the script), tries it out and ends up buying the gadget instead of the product. People, who follow this pattern, buck the norm and end up exploring options and opportunities during the various twists and turns of life.

Getting started early
The term to describe this pattern is “enterprising”. And that is an essential ingredient if you are looking to find challenging opportunities in life. The more enterpreneurs I meet, the more I try different options, the more I explore - I am realizing that opportunities always exist. I may not be looking for them, shying away from them or maybe intentionally ignoring them (that is the "too risky" excuse) but there is no lack of opportunities.

What makes a difference is attitude! An attitide towards life that includes curiosity, perseverance and some risk taking. You see examples of this trend in many successful entrepenuers dropping out of college to pursue their dreams. They rejected the "normal" path to pursue what seemed viable opportunities.

Most of us have the potential to make it in happen - we just need to take that plunge and digress from the ordinary. Remember - ordinary and predictable ways lead to ordinary and predictable results.

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