My friend Colin was excitedly sharing with me a strategy he recently learned.
Colin had been going through a very difficult time in his life. Like so many Albertans he had gone to work one day to discover that the reward for 22 years of loyalty and commitment to a company was to be escorted out of the building by security personnel while trying to digest the shock of learning his title had changed from “Manager” to “Redundant.”
This day had begun like many others and he was busily working away on a report when his phone rang and he was asked to attend a brief meeting in a nearby meeting room.
He had walked into this room to find his boss and a person from the HR department waiting for him. His boss curtly told him that his services were no longer required and that the HR person would explain the terms of his severance.
Without as much as a “goodbye” or “thank you for your many years of service” his boss scurried away never to be seen again. He was presented with a letter outlining the terms of his severance and, as he was reading through it, a uniformed security guard appeared and he was told he was to be escorted out of the building and that his personal belongings be gathered from his office and sent to his home.
Colin spent the next several months shifting between raging anger at being fired and at the manner in which it had been done to feelings of betrayal and to anxiously worrying about how he was going to establish a career now that his previous one had been so unceremoniously yanked from beneath him.
And then two lessons entered his world and changed his life forever.
The first was a sentence that he had heard many years earlier and had long forgotten. The sentence “energy flows to where our attention goes” helped him remember that focusing on his anger, resentment and general lack of happiness in his life will play no role in helping him get past this.
He began to consciously force himself to focus on getting up early in the morning and spending his days expanding his network, talking to people and doing everything in his power to try and find a new career.
The second lesson was an even bigger call to action. In a conversation with a long-time friend and mentor it was suggested to him that he set aside a block of time to be used for one purpose and one purpose only.
He was instructed to turn off his cell phone and use that time to focus on a specific task until it was completed.
Colin knew the task would be challenging but still he eagerly committed himself to its completion.
And this was the task: write down 100 steps and actions you can take towards finding a rewarding job.
The first three or four were easy and obvious: stay in touch with your network; check the online job sites; register with head-hunters; read the newspapers.
Getting from 5 to 10 were a bit more challenging and coming up with the remaining 90 ideas was as daunting a task as any Colin had ever undertaken.
My friend Colin is nothing if not persistent and because he had committed to completing this challenge he spent almost 8 hours intensely focusing on creative new ideas until the magic number of 100 appeared on his notepad.
As he read through the list, some of the ideas seemed fruitless, futile and in his words, “some were just plain stupid.”
And many others weren’t. There were different and creative ways for him to get in front of people who making hiring decisions and so armed with his list he mapped out a strategy and went to work.
Drawing from many of the hundred ideas he was soon finding himself being invited for interviews and within six weeks of beginning this project he found himself in a management position with one of the major competitors of his previous employer.
He has been at that new job for eight months and told me that every morning he wakes up excited about going to work.
He has shared the “Magic rule of 100 ideas” with colleagues at his new company and on two occasions so far he, along with a group of colleagues, have applied this intense focus to challenging situations and have been overjoyed with the results cleaned from having 100 options to choose from.
Taking the time to come up with 100 ideas for anything is indeed a demanding task and one that requires strong commitment but as Colin will attest, the rewards for doing so are immense and, to quote him, “it is truly remarkable how creative we are when we give ourselves permission to do so and stay focused until one idea follows the next and then the next…”
If it is true that the proof of the pudding is in the eating, then Colin has introduced us to a delightful method that can only result in our future being filled with many delicious desserts.
Till we read again.