The other day I was talking with a friend about some generalities of life. I was saying that I simply had many misgivings about people in my life. I prefer that people earn my trust, rather than I just provide it to them upon first meeting. I told her that I really wanted to trust that the world was a good place, but my experiences had led me to a different conclusion.
We paused our conversation so that we could drink out hot tea. She looked up thoughtfully and said the following sentence.
“Right now, you remind me of Puddleglum from the Chronicles of Narnia. C.S. Lewis created his character to show us that it’s ok to not trust. But we have the choice to believe there is hope.”
I won’t assume that everyone knows who Puddleglum is or what the Chronicles of Narnia are; so let me enlighten. Puddleglum is a fictional character in C.S. Lewis’s beloved series. We meet him much later in the series, during the book entitled, “The Silver Chair”. He is a Marshwiggle, a sort of frog-like creature with the human ability to love, hate, fear and hope.
Puddleglum is asked to join the quest with Jill and Eustace as they seek out King Rillian. They strategize their way out of the Giants of Harfang kingdom, escape the clutches of the gnomes at the earth’s core and eventually out hope the Lady of the Green Kirtle’s dark magic.
But it isn’t the physical bravery that Puddleglum shows in these situations that ought to be celebrated. It’s his inner most yearning to believe that things will get better even in the darkest of times. The craving to have confidence in a better place just above the earth’s surface.
In the darkest moment of the book, whilst the Lady of the Green Kirtle performed her dark magic in hopes of subduing her aggressors, Puddleglum makes his choice.
“I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia.”
He believed so deeply in the power of good and the strength of Aslan to overcome evil, despite his gloomy world view. (To be fair, he did undergo far more than any of us ever have….you see life can’t always be “fricasseed frogs and eel pie.”)
We all have the choice to believe that there is a better way or a better place to the current situations we find ourselves in. While ruin may be the road to transformation, hope is the choice to restoration. Puddleglum recognized this and actively participated in this last, powerful attempt at renewal.
Back in the real world, I reflected on this quality of Puddleglum. While I believe that there are many horrible people in this world, I reconciled myself to actively work to hope and prepare for the best. While this in no way implies perfection, it’s a habit I am willing to create.
One of the greatest fears I have in my young adult life is that of becoming complacent. It's a concept that many of us are not too familiar with as it has many forms. It is often confused with conceited, unfairly perceived as discontentment. But it is its own creature entirely and we choose to escape it in different ways.
For those who don't do well with idle time on their hands, we evade complacency by taking on most new tasks that come our way. We throw ourselves fully into them, usually in a leadership role where we can exercise and hone our skills. We like to make decisions quickly and execute clear plans. While we appreciate transparency, too much oversight into our plans and goals is exhausting and discouraging. We prefer to act first and ask permission later. We end up in positions where we are able to do this because people see our restless spirits and know we need room to 'roam'.
For those of us who enjoy having free time that is not cluttered with competition and expectations, we embrace the complacency. But we do so without fully understanding how it manifests itself. While we may be good at our jobs; usually completing our tasks and meeting our deadlines, we don't gain much from going beyond that. We are comfortable in our job as defined by our contracts. We are the stable ones, we provide assurance and experience to our positions; and we are respected for it.
While there is no right or wrong way to take on new challenges or maintaining status quo in life, we can find ourselves in trouble. Complacency breeds new creatures: Burn Out and Rust Out. One stems from a fear and the other from a contentment.
Burn Out tends to be the most familiar. It is usually 'diagnosed' as the overexertion of the body and mind. Some of us experience this frequently. It's those terms we spend on community boards where we are the only ones doing things. We have been President for 4 years and Secretary for 2. If we are honest with ourselves, it usually stems from us not being honest with ourselves. We are so driven that we can get to a place where we believe others are not as capable. This is the part that is not healthy. It is important at this point to except the break, recharge the batteries and come back willing to collaborate.
Rust Out has been happening under the surface for many years without very little knowledge of its arrival. Typically we call it contentment or structure. We appreciate those who can live happily in their roles; who have the free time to spare. But what we don't see that deep down those who get Rusted Out often get so in their soul and spirit. It is missed for many years that they have misunderstood their role. They think it is about one thing and therefore never really reach the full potential because they don't know what the expectation is. Worse still, sometimes they don't fully understand the mission of the organization. Because of this they continually surrender to the day-to-day routine.
I work in an environment where I see Burn Out and Rust Out yearly. It's important to call it what it is, recognize that it could be you too, and offer support to those you supervise or who supervise you. The best thing is to get to a place of contentment.
Click heAlways bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.
I remember the first time that I heard this quote. It was in middle school and I was reading a biography sketch about Mr. Lincoln. The sketch was talking about Lincolns best qualities. Among these were many that I craved to achieve myself.
-acceptance of differing viewpoints
-relaxation for the purpose of replenishing
-Ability to communicate goals and visions
These and more made Lincoln a great leader! Now Lincoln was 51 years old when he was elected which means he had several years to learn how to present all this. He worked hard to be taken serious, have his views validated and his visions come to fruition.
As a young professional in the millennial generation, I am often contributed to the stereotypes that plague my generation.
But what would happen if employers actually understood who the serious Millennials were and what made them tick? Would companies and organizations work more efficiently?
Millennials want to feel like they are a part of building something. We want to know the purpose behind the project and the impact it will have on the future. Most of them truly do not dislike hard work. Often times though, employers do not treat them as if they are able to handle it. We are told what to do rather than given the opportunity to engage in the conversations about why. Employers could see more buy-in to their brand or mission if they are willing to collaborate with the younger generation in conversations. Offer us the opportunity to be in committees, think tanks, lead or create a training.
We crave to be fully used in our jobs.
One of my biggest frustrations is that I often do not feel as if my skills are being fully used. I am a quick learner and mover. It does not take me very long to get projects done. While I may not always be accurate 100% of the time, I produce more by 10a than others do by 5p. While I strive to be more accurate in my logistics, I will always be a fast-paced person. Therefore, I grow weary by the extra energy i have that is not needed for current tasks. Employers that recognize and harness this energy have the ability to teach new skills or create new passions in their employees.
We desire transparency; personal responsibility.
I tend to desire a lot out of my workplace. Integrity, mission focused self-starters. Above all, I desire creativity and responsibility. This can often be lost in the monotony of the day-to-day task lists. We can become so rooted in the "must do's" and forget about the "will do's". The authentic organization does not look to just meet the bottom line. People are not numbers on a scale to them, they are opportunities to mentor, guide and hold accountable. As a nonprofit employee, I have a set of standards I apply when working with employees. I expect situations to be approached with clarity, deadlines to be met and opinions to be valued, but tested.
re to edit.