“If I cannot deflect the will of Heaven, I will raise Hell.”
“flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.”
“Don’t try to behave as though you were essentially sane and naturally good. We’re all demented sinners in the same cosmic boat — and the boat is perpetually sinking.”
This is about doing shit and doing the shit you really want to do … in business.
This is not about ‘finding your passion’ or ‘maximizing your potential’ … this is simply about something you actually decide you want to do … maybe something that is decided you should do … and are going to do.
I am sure I am going to completely bastardize the true meaning of this quote but I think about it with business in mind. This thought piece is a derivative of my “how far would you go to solve a problem” business thought.
In that piece I discussed saving your business. In this piece I am discussing saving your business objective or goal.
Far too often businesses ‘hedge their bets’ against specific stretch goals & objectives. They sit in fancy conference rooms eating fancy snacks reviewing annual sales goals and business objectives and talk about ‘reaching high’ and then … well … blink. They start thinking, what they call, pragmatically … or practically.
They start ‘hedging.’ And when that happens not meeting the objective becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.
What do I mean?
It is a tough, but reachable, objective and, yet, they don’t take the necessary complete steps to attain it. I am not suggesting this is easy.
If you do what it takes to reach an objective and fall short … falling short looks … well … shorter. You invested and the investment REALLY did not pay off.
If you do what it takes to reach an objective and reach it … well … sometimes reaching it comes with a cost and your ROI don’t look as good as it could <by the way … this is a wacky version of “you did good … just not good enough”>.
Reality suggests to anyone with half a business brain that reaching true, not fake, stretch goals or aggressive objectives come at a cost. And that is where this Virgil quote comes into play. The Virgil quote is literally translated as “If I cannot deflect the will of superior powers, then I shall move the River Acheron” but more commonly translated as “If I cannot deflect the will of heaven, then I shall move hell.”
This is a version of “do what it takes to get where you want.”
I say that because I did a little research <mostly because I am not intellectual enough to actually read Virgil and like it>. Apparently in the Aeneid it is the goddess Juno who says this quote in a state of rage and defiance. She admits she doesn’t believe she can win but defiantly takes action anyway. Even better <to me> she is standing up against her peers … defending her right to do what she believes should be done, her own way, whether any of her peers approve.
And you know what?
She refuses to sit idle while others do nothing.
I will never <ever> suggest sacrificing values & ethics to win or reach an objective. My point is that to reach some objectives and aggressive goals you have to be defiant. You have to rebel against ‘hedging’ and sometimes you gotta step up and do what it takes. I do believe you can raise hell if heaven isn’t getting you where you need to be … without sacrificing ethics and values. And I do believe most managers in business need someone to rebel against their ‘fear of risk, failure, looking bad’ asses.
When I speak with businesses about the only thing I can tell them for sure … is that the future is uncertain. But I can also tell the with certainty that if history is a guide then we who are defiant, are determined, and do whatever it takes are the ones who push through the seemingly impossible and make it possible.
If you are a maker, a builder, an architect of fate … you do not hedge your bets nor do you let resources sit idle in inaction and, frankly, sit in inability to do shit that may assist in … well … doing shit.
“I shall find a way or make one.”
At some point in business you are forced to pick a side, pick a battle and pick a moment.
At some point in business you are forced to steer … or be steered.
At some point in business you are an architect of your own fate or fate will build you.
At some point in business you are forced to face adversity or be suffocated by that which stands in your way.
I could argue that the real difference in business remains one simple distinction. Those people who do something and those people who do nothing.
Maybe the real difference in business is those people who do something when an aggressive goal is placed in front of them and those who people who do … well … less than it takes. And that is where determination steps into this discussion.
Because ‘less than’, in business, is clever. It can cleverly disguise itself in little line items and subtle decisions to hold back little things in reserve.
And then one day you realize that your courage is farcical.
It doesn’t mean anything. You’ve become an accomplice in your own annihilation and there is nothing you can do about it. Everything you do closes a door somewhere ahead of you.
And finally there is only one door left.”
Without really intending to subvert your effort to attain some sales goal you ultimately give up your objective line by line. In other words … you’ve become an accomplice in your own annihilation.
What is maybe worse than that?
As you hedge your bets you actually close door after door that maybe could have led you to your goal. Without steadfast determination, and maybe a little defiance to safe business protocol, you will inevitably find yourself standing at the only door left available for you … not reaching the goal and having excuses as to why you didn’t reach an aggressive goal.
Your main excuse? You were less aggressive than you needed to be to reach the aggressive goal.
I will conclude with the obvious.
All I can suggest is that you tie your values and ethics on tight … and then go raise hell if heaven ain’t helping you make the objective.
All I can suggest is if you are in a position to actually do something just make sure you look in the mirror and make sure you are not an accomplice to your own annihilation.
All I can suggest is that if you want something, really want to DO something, more often than not … in most businesses which tend to be either lethargic or less than efficient … you got to aggressively create your own path.