Friday, September 16, 2005

SG – Pacing Is For Wimps – Riiighhht!

Fall is here and I find myself more interested in watching television than I care to admit. I doubt that TV will ever be the “highlight of my whole day” as one of my workshop clients once mentioned. There is, however, a certain mind candy quality about it that seems attractive this time of year. As a result, I discovered an amazing story about Rafe Esquith and his Hobart Shakespeareans. But that was after I indulged in Survivor – Guatemala. Of course, both hooked into a pent-up desire to get back into writing after having had some time off over the summer so today is a rare two-fer.

Just for the record, I would like to make clear that I am not the one in the household who typically generates the most interest in watching Survivor. I was not the person who turned it on the first time mid-way through the first season, though I suppose I am at least partly responsible for watching the rest of that season. After that, though, I step back from any responsibility in the matter. That said, when I do watch, I find it to be a fascinating lab experiment.

Like any good lab, Survivor takes place in a highly controlled environment. We are still able to make useful observations on individual and group dynamics anyway that can often be applied to real life – both of the personal and the business variety. This is what keeps me coming back.

So we have a new season and this time I again was not the person to have turned it on. I did decide, though that it would be worth following this time and commenting about what I see. The first episode of Guatemala did not disappoint in that regard.

So far, I have to say that I’m most impressed with Margaret, the nurse who looked after the guys who all pushed themselves too hard. She’s compassionate AND she’s thinking about team success and strategy. Way to go!

Perhaps not surprisingly, I find this combination of compassion and long view of success to be an important skill in both life and in business. As individuals, we can improve our chances of success for ourselves if we also take into account the others around us.

Blake and Bobby Jon proved to be particularly good examples of why it’s so important to pace ourselves. It may be one thing if you’re dealing with a situation of limited duration – a sprint, in effect – but it’s something else entirely when you’re dealing with an endurance event – a marathon. Life and business are usually about the endurance rather than the sprint and, as Probst said near the end of this first episode – “You have to figure out how to give it your all without destroying yourself in the process.” Face it, must be present to win…

It is great to see Stephenie back for another round and embodying another pair of important lessons. The early evidence is that she’s shaking off the past and is content to start with a new baseline. Once we learn from past mistakes, it’s time to move on. The other one is, of course, the value of simply not giving up. Persistence usually pays off.

So – whatever your goal, stay with it but do it with brains rather than brute force and pace yourself along the way. If you do that and take into account in your decision-making what else is happening around you and who you’re with, then you’ll greatly improve your chances of success.

If you have other thoughts about how what you see, hear or read influences your everyday life, I’m interested. I can be reached at if you feel like sharing. In the meantime, I plan to use the track what happens with this group a little more closely and see what writing falls out of that. Hopefully we'll all find some value in that.

What strategies do you use to keep yourself in the game?