“Don’t dwell on what went wrong.
Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.”
“You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward. “
So. This is about shifting gears professionally.
To be clear.
He shifted up.
He had a good business, good business model and a good business sense. In my eyes he was cruising along in maybe 2nd or 3rd gear <good … not bad … and not great> … and then … well … he found another gear.
To be clear. When I first saw his business, he was maybe in 2nd gear not really rocking the boat or rocking the world but steady consistent and moving forward and solid business. Looking from the outside in I never saw spectacular, but I saw steady. I saw, well, 2nd gear.
He didn’t know it, but, behind the scenes, I would never hesitate to recommend him, maybe not typically for those who needed to shake the etch a sketch, but 100% for those who just needed a good engine tune up. Over the years he steadily shifted up to maybe 3rd gear always steady and solid <good, maybe very good, just not that extra little great>.
But then that changed.
And read it again.
It felt like he had shifted gears.
It now felt like 5th gear stuff.
I got the next newsletter.
Definitely 5th gear.
He had shifted gears professionally.
I tend to believe this happens a lot as you get older. We shift gears. We reach a point professionally where you have it pretty good, you have some good experiences which have taught you a shitload of different things … and you sit back and scan it all <comparing it to what you have done>.
This is where the shift occurs.
Now. Some decide to downshift. And. Some decide to shift up.
There is a huge swath of people in the business world who simply go in to earn a paycheck, their only gear is the one that does their job <mostly well or well enough> and their career progresses in that one and only gear. I would note, just for the record, day to day business relies on these essential people and their steady gear attitude <so stop giving them shit or look down on them in any way>.
This is not about them.
This is about the business people who want more. They want to use another gear then other employees and for the most part throughout their career … they do.
Inevitably these people reach a point, maybe some success, maybe a title, maybe it is just some more good experience where they, well, decide to shift gears.
These ‘shift downers’ have decided they have been working hard and they see the other relatively happy one gear people and say “I am going to slow down.”
Some people call it selling out. Younger people look at these older people as ‘wasted space.’
I just call them people who believe they deserve to down shift <so stop giving them shit or look down on them and look to maximize their experience>.
This is not about them.
This is more about the business people who wanted more and then see that maybe they could actually “be more.” These are the business people who shift up.
And you know what? Shifting gears seems like the appropriate metaphor here because ‘the analogy of ‘shifting gears’ is used to identify and explain the key factors (agents) involved in driving career formation, and describe the level of interconnectedness between these drivers.’ To shift up, in order to respond to the pressure, the gears have to be in sync, work simultaneously and coordinate the rest of the body around them.
And that is what happens. You have accumulated a lot of knowledge, expertise and experiences <practical functional stuff> and then you decide to incorporate some personal clarity to the horsepower. It is almost like you find some clarity in yourself professionally which permits you to better identify the largest and most influential parts in the gear box. And then … you shift gears.
I feel qualified to write about this because I did it. I shifted gears up. And I have seen others in my generation shift up and down.
But I do now.
I certainly see the value of ‘down shifters’ and believe any organization would benefit from having a mix of good, qualified, experienced, downshifters.
As for shifting gears up?
Seeing someone in my business generation do it is a joy.
Mostly because, in general, the shift is tied to a decision that our generation may have not always been the best for the business world and possibly injected some flawed thinking with regard to business acumen & principles. This means that most ‘shifting up’ is tied to trying to address those ‘wrongs’ or at least try and inject some ‘righter thinking.’
I get some shit from people because I am hard on my entire business generation … everyone.
Look.I think more of us should be.
To be clear. I don’t expect everyone in my generation to decide to shift gears up but I would like more of my generation to at least understand some of the consequences of our behaviors & principles.
And for those who decide to shift gears upwards? I hope they get a chance to implement their new horsepower because today’s business world can make it pretty difficult for people in my generation, who truly have something to offer and are willing to not be attached to the old ways of doing things to actually get to do what they truly offer.