Monday, August 31, 2009

Raise a little . . .

We all define balance differently. Some people think balance is down time. Others think balance is time to pursue a special interest. Some people say balance is about leaving work behind at 4:30 pm. I happen to think balance is being able to stand on my head for more than one minute.

But here is a revelation. I have been told I need balance and I assumed balance to me was what it was to everyone else. In fact I have set life goals to work 9 to 5. To walk out the door. To leave work behind. I have made proclamations to my friends, family and co-workers. And everyone has the same reactions. Some people laugh out loud. Others smile and nod, and look at me as if to say, "uh huh . . .".

More than anything I want to be one of those people, but I can't. I also want to be one of those magazine models, but that seems to be out of reach for me as well. So here is my confession. I love to work. I love to work at work. And when I am not at work, I am known to paint a room over a weekend, or dig up my front yard just to create a new garden. Recently, I painted my red kitchen blue and then painted it red again because I didn't like it. Last weekend, I painted my family room. And when I am not changing the world, I am usually writing about it.

I need to feel accomplishment. I like to see things happen. I love to change things and alter reality. It's change that I love. Movement. Progress. A better way. And I find myself always in the wake of a huge change whether I plan to be there or not.

Over the past 5 years, my working life has been about mergers, restructures, de-structures and failed mergers. I have seen good people fall off the planet of their making, and I have seen people survive who maybe shouldn't have. I have seen mediocre people at their best, and I have seen people become good leaders. I have seen the mouse topple the elephant and I have seen what happens when people care about the same things at the same time.

It's been an interesting ride. So here I am, smack dab in the middle of another one of those wakes. And I ask myself, how the heck did I get here? I am just a writer after all. A journalist. A writer of facts. A recorder of life. How did I end up on this ship again. For the life of me, I do not know. Yet, I stand outside of myself, and I observe a change maker, a wake surfer, a storm chaser.

These times call for extraordinary people. People who actually work for betterment of others and not themselves. People who others will follow. People who help others who are not capable of changing by themselves. And I have come to the conclusion, quite often, that most of the time, people are not extra-ordinary. People are ordinary. People want someone else to make the decisions. They don't want to accept that change is theirs to make. They don't want to take the wheel, because then they are responsible to make something happen.

And that, friends, is why change is so freakin' hard. Not enough people are in the game. There are too many people just wishing it would end so their lives could go about effortlessly. I would love that. But it's not realistic. It's a vacation. Not life. Progress is work. Why should everyone enjoy the fruits of labour without labouring?

Recently, someone close to me said that there was no point in talking about change because nothing ever happens. My response was this: who do you expect to make change happen for you? Why do you expect someone to do it for you? As the song goes, "if you don't like what you got, why don't you change it. If your world is all screwed up. Rearrange it."

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