Throughout the complex dance of life and career, a discernible pattern emerges: the inflexible correlation between “spinning your wheels” or feeling stagnant and its negative impact on personal relationships and mental well-being. Reflecting on instances where I found myself “spinning my wheels,” I paint a picture of effort, sometimes extreme, with no reward, often leading to a pit of frustration, exasperation, and depression.
On the other hand, when I’m in charge and experience what I call “traction,” there is an unmistakable boost in morale, a disappearance of the dark clouds of depression and hope that doesn’t “eternal spring”, but at least lasts at least as long as I have traction. The challenge is not to neglect personal connections in the euphoria of this pull and its more exhilarating sibling, momentum. And believe me, momentum is addictive and personal relationships can suffer.
3 D visionary traction
To navigate the maze of creating impactful traction, I often draw parallels to visionaries like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. Their journeys offer valuable insights, which I have distilled into the “3 Ds of Visionary Traction”:
1. Define reality. Jobs envisioned a future in which computers were easily accessible, aided by a graphical interface and a mouse, ultimately leading to the iPhone, a unified device for music, communication and navigation. Musk’s reality centered on mass-market electric cars and pioneering privatized space exploration. The essence is to paint a future so fascinating and fascinating that the world, although initially oblivious, eventually becomes its most fanatical fan.
2. State your intention. Both Jobs and Musk have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to their visions. The underlying goal was not just financial gain, but also encompassed a broader goal: to define and then sculpt the future. Like Michelangelo, each saw an impossible possibility in the future and “carved it until he set it free.” Their undying spirit has inspired many people to be a part of their vision, even at the sometimes great cost of their personal lives. But they put those personal needs aside when they were able to board a rocket (figuratively and literally) to the future.
3. Decide on the strategy. Once the path has been mapped out, the question remains how to get there. This moment is crucial and may explain why neither Jobs nor Musk (or other visionary leaders) have been hailed as exceptional managers. Their strengths lie in their vision, strategy and unwavering determination.
On a more personal level, my journey has not been without periods of long periods of slippage or, even worse, stagnation, which often marked the beginning of bouts of depression. But, drawing inspiration from the “3 Ds,” I recently experienced unprecedented traction:
1. Define reality. My current reality, full of the specter of a terminal illness, has surprisingly been a beacon of tranquility that I have never experienced in life. Impending mortality has, paradoxically, instilled an unprecedented calm and contentment. And this strange juxtaposition not only created traction, but also sparked global interest, so much so that the traditionally elusive Harvard Business Review was so intrigued that it invited me on its Ideacast podcast. Appearing in calm, peace and wisdom in the face of death, a unicorn appears in the turbulent sea of fear of it.
2. State your intention. With the clarity of what constitutes “a good death,” my goal has been to get closer to it, methodically putting aside what is not important (and there is so much). The world’s attention is welcome, but it is not actively sought. However, given the opportunity based on his growing interest, I happily share my new wisdom as long as my health holds out.
3. Decide on the strategy. To manifest my imagined reality, I mobilized an exceptional team composed of doctors, loved ones and professional advisors and consultants. The large number of individuals who rally behind me, apparently because they care about me (which I find hard to accept but with which I am learning to live and die), even those who are caught in the trap of their busy lives, is astonishing. What’s crazy is how many people whose time and attention was and is overwhelmed to the point where it was hard to grasp anything, told me after sharing my current situation, “24/7” meaning I could call them anytime, anywhere. Go figure.
In conclusion, whether you are a visionary sculpting the future or an individual drawing your Of course, the “3 Ds” can serve as a beacon. Embrace them and you might just stop spinning your wheels and start gaining traction that could set you free.