This is an old story that I suspect you’ve heard before, and just in case you haven’t, here it is again. They say that if you put a frog in a boiling pot of water, he will jump out immediately. He knows that the water is too hot, and he gets out of there, fast.
But if you put the frog in a pot of cool water and turn up the heat slowly, he will stay there until he is dead. He won’t jump out in time to save himself because the temperature of the water rises so gradually that he doesn’t even notice.
When we come into our organizations, most of us truly believe in our heart of hearts that we’re a perfect fit for the job. We’re excited about the job, we believe in the organization, and we’re thrilled to be there.
Things go just great until “Shift” happens. The job changes, or maybe the people change. We go through a major life event, like getting married, divorced or having children, and our priorities shift. Maybe we realize we’ve been doing the same thing for 16 years, and we’re bored.
Whatever the cause, somewhere along the line, “Shift” happens. The problem comes when we don’t notice. All too often people find themselves living a double life: there’s the thing they do for money during the day, and the thing they love that they squeeze into nights and weekends.
Much like the frog in the pot, splitting time is okay for a while. But at some point, the water starts to get pretty darn hot and uncomfortable. Next thing you know…you’re Frog Soup.
Are you the frog in the pot? Well, you don’t have to be! Let’s take a look at some action steps you can take right away to get out of that hot water… without landing in more.
1. Notice that you’re in the pot. Are you having fun at your job? Are you making the difference you wanted to make? Do you have the relationships with your friends and family that you want? If you answered “no” to any of these questions consider that you may be in a soup pot.
It’s not uncommon for people to be unaware that they’re in the soup pot. When was the last time you asked a co-worker how they were doing and they responded with something like, “Same stuff, different day”? The shift can happen so gradually that you don’t even notice that the water is getting warmer.
2. Gather your little froggy legs up underneath your butt! Recognize that the more you do what you love, the greater the impact you have on your organization and the world at large. When you realize that the level of satisfaction and fulfillment you feel at work is a measure of the degree to which you are using your greatest gifts, you will realize that you not only DESERVE to have a job you love, you have a RESPONSIBILITY to.
So many of us have grown up with a mindset that believes we’re supposed to sell ourselves for money and as long as the work is tolerable, that’s good enough. But I’m telling you, that’s not the case. You have gifts that only you can give, and they need to be shared with the world. When you identify what you love to do and choose to do that, you are, by design, sharing your greatest gifts. You are being of greatest service.
3. Leap out of the stinkin’ pot! The fine print here is that jumping out of the pot does not necessarily mean quitting your job or moving to another state. It may mean taking a different role within your organization or adjusting something else in some other area of your life. But whatever it is, it requires you doing something very different. It requires a Quantum Leap. Otherwise you will smack the side of the pot and land right back down where you started. The Quantum Leap itself is nothing more than a clear, committed decision to refuse to settle for soup. The decision is the leap.
4. Grab the hand that appears! Did you notice that this step comes AFTER you leap? Until you decide to make the Quantum Leap, no one can help you over the edge of the pot.
The surest way to guarantee that you sail cleanly over the edge is to INVEST IN YOURSELF. Whether this investment looks like joining a gym, hiring a coach, taking a class or some other form of growth, making a successful leap easily requires grabbing the hand of someone who can help you.
This investment is the part that scares most people so much that they would rather fall back in the pot and become Frog Soup than risk investing in themselves. They say, “I can’t afford it. I don’t have time. I don’t have energy. My organization won’t pay for it.” Here’s the bad news: you pay for success UP FRONT. Until you are willing to invest in yourself, you are unlikely to escape the soup pot.
This is YOUR Quantum Leap. YOU have to do it. Someone else cannot invest in you at a level higher than you are willing to invest in yourself.
So where do you start? If you’ve decided to take your Quantum Leap, how do you look for the correct hand to grab? How do you find a mentor that is right for you? Next month we will explore those questions in depth.
AND, if you realize that by this time next month, you will already be FROG SOUP, there is no need to wait. Schedule your FREE Leadership Design Consultation to discover the best “hand” for you to grab.