The 1990s were filled with unprecedented downsizing, organizational restructuring, massive mergers, layoffs and so many businesses selling out. 2000 ended with news of economic slowdown as eventually affirmed by consumer reluctance in spending over the holidays. Then Montgomery Ward announced it was throwing in the towel after more than one century in business. Thus, 28,000 people will need to find new jobs.
And 2001 is not being left behind; Office Depot is closing some stores. The technology industry dances to the drumbeat of Wall Street and international and domestic competitors in addition to consumer confidence in the economy. Thus, there is tons of insecurity.
There are some life lessons in the way animals survive and thrive in their unpredictable jungle that can teach us to "survive and thrive" in our own jungle -- our workplace.
In the jungle, life is just like that -- uncertain. Both carnivores and their prey are faced with the challenge. The challenge is running either for food or from being food.
To capture the picture of life in the jungle, read what the wise have said. "Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will die. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle; when the sun comes up, you'd better be running."
What can we learn from both the lion and the gazelle to survive and thrive and grow in our profession, spiritual pursuits or in our relationships?
Here are the Top 7 Tips To Thrive In An Unpredictable Workplace:
- Identify the nature of your "jungle." What is happening in your industry, now and tomorrow? What professional and personal attributes do you want to improve as you strive to attain new heights? What are the opportunities within your immediate reach and the ones you can explore with time?
- Don't run aimlessly. Gazelles run from carnivores. Treat anything that limits you from living up to your potential as a "carnivore." You can run from poverty, mediocre performance, inability to build and maintain relationships with God and fellow human beings by developing a purpose to live. A lion identifies a target, positions itself and then the running begins. What is your target in your professional endeavors? What is your target in your spiritual pursuits? What kind of relationship do you think is good for you at home and in your community?
- Concentration. Imagine what would happen to a gazelle that is running from a lion but engages in other activities not related to surviving - or a lion that may decide to run after every available gazelle? Lions are known for tactful hunting. A lion focuses on one target and nothing else. It applies the law of discrimination against anything which is not of relevant importance as it runs after its goal.
- Determination. As they run for food or from being food, animals have to overcome obstacles -- bad terrain, thorny bushes. Determination is what keeps them from being a victim -- food for a lion or a starving lion. Personal fulfillment in life bears a deep meaning when we remember the obstacles we have to overcome through our determination.
- Never give up. A lion may change course or target, but never gives up. No one will ever know you had a goal to achieve if you give up. You may adjust your strategies or the nature of your goal -- but never give up.
- Association. Jungle animals survive together. Lions hunt together, sometimes in packs of four or five to bring down a water buffalo. In our jungle we have to have associates we can work with or depend on.
- Know when you are safe. Either from your predator if you
are a gazelle, or with your meal if you are a lion. This is directly related to having a specific goal. A gazelle cannot run for the whole day; it has to know when it is safe and then use its time grazing, feeding a baby or socializing. Same with a lion - when it has its kill, that's success. How will you know when you have achieved your goal?
- What do you do when you are not "running?" Hone your skills, abilities and knowledge. In today's jungle, learning-to-learn is an asset. Learn to expand and integrate your knowledge, learn communication skills, thinking, reasoning skills and interpersonal skills.
- Remember the words of Dr. Benjamin Mays, "It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy of life lies in not having a goal to reach for. It isn't a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not a disaster to be unable to capture your ideal. It is a disaster to have no ideal to capture. It is not a disgrace not to reach your stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for."
Dr. Vincent Muli Wa Kituku, a native of Kenya, is one of the most sought-after Motivational Speaker/Storytellers and Seminar Leaders. He has risen to prominence by delivering authentic, informative, captivating and high-energy messages which tell people how to "spear social buffaloes" and live up to their greatness. Vincent offers individuals and organizations the "spears" of overcoming and thriving beyond their "buffaloes." He also is an Author, Columnist, active Adjunct Professor, Founder and Principal Consultant of Kituku & Associates (specializing in Customized Keynotes and Workshops) Boise, ID 83707 (208) 939-7216 email Vincent@Kituku.com http://WWW.Kituku.Com