What repairing my bike taught me about considerate consultancy
Doesn’t it feel nice sometimes to know how to fix somebody else’s problems? But as an unknown street artist wisely said: Don’t tell anyone the time, before he asks for it.
One day, the treadle of my bike was broken. I went to the repair shop, to ask how much it would cost to repair it. It was a very old bike, quite broken in many parts, but definitely still functional. The man told me that he could not repair the treadle only, either it would be a complete make-over or nothing. Total cost: 200€! Back in the days I had paid 170 for the whole bike… Not an option. That man lost his assignment.
HOW ALIGNING VALUES WITH WORK CAN LEAD TO PERSONAL FULFILLMENT
It is not uncommon to hide our dissatisfaction under the everyday issues: we want a better salary, to have our efforts recognized, to have our individuality respected, to have the chance to grow, etc. Behind all of these topics tend to lie a major motive: sometimes our expectations are too high and sometimes our personal values are just not very well adjusted to the path we’re taking.
When we are not leading the life according to what is really meaningful, we feel it in our guts that something down deep isn’t right. And it just doesn’t shut up.
Human beings depend on social interactions. We depend on each other and, still, confronting someone or asking for a favor can be pretty scary! It is important to remember that if we don’t ask we will always have the ‘no’ as an answer. Here I tell you a personal story on how the power of asking is a tool that move us forward.
Is the way you see power affecting how you deal with it? What are the first definitions that come to your mind when someone is described as a powerful man or woman? Power is often seen as someone taking control over somebody else – did you see what I just did here? Power ~over~ somebody. The preposition that follows the word makes the difference.
In his book Office Politics, the author Oliver James describes “Machiavels have a great desire and capacity to seek power over others through deliberate manipulation.” This is a clear example of how “power over” works. If you’ve ever been in a situation in which you had to accept to work extra hours because you were afraid of losing your job, then you know what I’m talking about.
Self-love. As if it was something unnatural. As if one had to put a lot of thought to it, or any other effort.
When I talk to people about it, many times the first reaction is an apology: yes, I should love myself more. Or: yes, I should love myself less! The word narcissism comes up. Or: love your neighbor as yourself. As yourself.
I have always been fascinated about journeys. It was probably when I lived in Chile for half a year when I was 16 years old that I discovered this passion. What I discovered later in my life though, is that journeys can happen in many shapes. Metaphorically speaking, even our whole life is a learning journey.
We can take a real physical journey, travel to a far away place, and discover something new. Or we can stay at home, and dedicate a fixed amount of time, say, one week, to evaluate a specific topic. Any frame we choose, the purpose is to focus our mind on a question or a longing that we want to discover, and once we have set our aim, we let go. We open our eyes and let the aim pull us towards it.
At first sight, reading the headline of the Forbes article “Curiosity At Work: Driver Or Danger?” was a big shock. How could someone even think that curiosity is dangerous? It is true that, still, so many people get fired for trying new approaches. Also, it isn’t so uncommon to have a co-worker who fears seeing someone else shine with his brilliant ideas. But how could one even survive without being curious?
For my surprise, as I scrolled down the article, the writers David Sturt and Tord Nordstrom almost didn’t touch the “danger” side of the equation. In their own words:
“Ambition is a desire for success. The prescription for ambition is “work harder.” Curiosity, often mistakenly viewed as a dangerous practice of aimless exploration is now considered a powerful tool. It’s simply the innate desire to know, understand, and experience.”
For so many people, including myself, it certainly can sound weird to say curiosity was just recently considered a powerful tool. But then I remembered the proverb “Curiosity killed the cat.”
Recently I’ve seen several articles covering career advices for millennials (or generation Y) around the internet. They give tips on how to behave in job interviews, how to dress for it, how to present a resumé… But is this the kind of advice we, young people, need?
If you are young and aspiring to find your place under the sun then watch out. Undoubtedly, starting a professional life can be scary and we often turn to the internet in order to find a foolproof formula to succeed. There are numerous “how to” tutorials that can trick you into thinking you know everything that’s necessary to succeed to your dream job. Why should you watch out? No question our generation shares a few characteristics in common, but are we all clumsy, late, insecure and distracted individuals?