Life’s a puzzle, and it led me here
We’re faced with puzzles every day. Life’s full of them. Puzzles are little things, like training your dog to not pee on the couch, to much bigger things, like searching for cures to incurable diseases. To solve a puzzle, you need a plan. We often follow plans without even realising it. You wouldn’t dream of walking out the house and seeing where your feet may take you, assuming you’ll miraculously turn up to your job interview halfway across the city. Trying to problem solve without a map or instruction manual is like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle without knowing the picture on the front of the box. Pieces will get smashed together in a feeble attempt to create some kind of form, and you’ll end up creating a post-modernist Dada collage of bits and bots. Don’t get me wrong, there’s sometimes merit in this experimentation. In fact, a collage of broken jigsaw pieces may look kinda cool framed on a wall (idea for another time…) But to quote the wise words of our guru, leader, mentor and God, Marc: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. (Heralding Marc in a SCAB is part of the drill). To problem-solve successfully, you need a strategy. And life’s full of problems, so why not have a strategy for life?
We had our heads downs in our briefs last week when we were blessed with a Shekhar Deshpande masterclass, the Head of Strategy at Meta. Rumour has it he knows Marc Zuckerberg. So we took our seats, ready to absorb some nuggets of gold that would help us crack this brief. Lo and behold, we got nothing of the sort. But the Mastermind did pull through. With advice far more valuable: a masterclass on the strategy of life.
We went around the room and each person summed up their strategy for life in a singular sentence. Mine was ‘to always follow my gut to find my path’. My red hat, I’ve decided, should always be on. (Please see previous SCABs on hats if you’ve no clue what I’m on about). I haven’t always followed my life strategy. In the past, I’ve listened to other people’s advice while ignoring a gut-wrenching feeling of something being wrong, and it has been the thing that has made my life look similar to a uni student’s bedroom after a big night out (terrifying image, I know), or a Lindsey Lohan 2010 special (in appearance only). To milk this jigsaw analogy further, life was once like weaving together 2000 pieces without my glasses on, and I’m pretty blind. But if you know the bigger picture from the start, your life goals are in reach. But following a life strategy sometimes takes courage.
I didn’t follow my life strategy when I graduated as I got one of the first ‘good’ jobs I could find. By ignoring my gut feeling, that I didn’t want to interview people about their curtains for the rest of my life, I was led down a career path I just was not destined for. Don’t get me wrong, it was fine. But I was ultimately too scared to trust my gut, because sometimes following the herd is easier, and trusting yourself takes courage. However, a year ago I took a plunge and applied to SCA. This has been the best decision I’ve ever made, and it was a decision entirely made by red hat thinking. By following my life strategy, by following my gut, I have well and truly found my path. I stayed true to myself, and, as a result, I genuinely have never been happier. I’m being creative every day and doing what I love. If you were I a year ago, working a job you really despised, struggling to get out of bed in the morning for another day of dullness staring at a spreadsheet on a screen, but too scared to do what you want because it’s not the ‘usual’ path, then fear not. I have zero regrets. Apply to SCA! Don’t follow the herd, I didn’t. (BBH, I’m a black sheep ;))
I’ve told you my life strategy, so I ask you, what’s yours? And where will it lead you? I hope it leads you here.