Fire hose, Squirt guns or Tides?

Which do you prefer? Fire hose, squirt guns or tides?

You’ve heard the term, “Drinking from the firehose.” Some work environments are like this. There are only two modes: on and off. You tend to work on a small number of projects at a time. When they start, they start hard and fast. Each project is significant on its own. They have a clear beginning and end. When you complete a project, there is a tangible relief.

Other environments are more like what I refer to as being drowned by a million squirt guns. It’s a constant deluge from lots of different sources. Any one of these sources is minor. But, you add them all together and you feel like you are drowning. You can finish one or two, or even ten or twenty, but there are still so many others vying for your time that there is no relief, ever.

Still other environments are more tidal in nature. They are somewhat predictable. They ebb and flow. Projects have slow starts and slow endings. At their peak, the projects are all-consuming and you may feel like you are under water. After the project ends, there is a lull and you get to catch your breath. You may even become bored. But, you know another wave is coming.

Different people prefer different models. No one model is better. However, it is important to match the working styles of the staff to the environment.

As an employer, be sure you understand which model describes your environment and seek to hire staff who fit. Also, consider whether this is the model you desire. If not, what can you do to address it?

As a job seeker, know which of these models you prefer and ask questions in the interview process to identify the environment you are considering. If it’s not your preferred model, can you adapt?

Fire hose, squirt guns, or tides? You decide.


Find your WHY

Why do you do what you do?

Before you answer, consider this:  If you stopped doing it, who would care?

The first answer most of us give to the “why” question is all about us. To get paid. Because I enjoy it. Yada, yada, yada.  Me, me, me.

The second question forces us to put what we do in terms of our customers, those who receive the benefit of the output of our work.

Most of us, when thinking about our jobs, think solely in terms of ourselves – what’s in it for us. How much we get paid, what benefits we receive, vacation time, how this prepares us for the next step in our careers, etc.

Amazing things happen when we flip this around, when we train ourselves to think in terms of what others receive by virtue of the work that we do.  I have first hand experience with this transition in thinking. It has a powerful impact on how I go about my work. It causes a very real attitude shift. And there are times when I need to be reminded.

Sometimes it is difficult to realize the true benefits provided by our work. That’s where the second question really helps. If you stopped doing what you do, who would notice? Who would care?

Still having trouble? Listen to your customers.

After a recent performance, a gentleman came up to me and said, “Never stop doing what you do.” I told him I had no intention of quitting. He persisted. He said, “We all need to laugh. We don’t get to do it enough. You made me laugh. Never stop doing this.”

On those days when the business aspects of doing what I do get me down and feel like a chore, it helps to remember that people need what I do. This is not about me. This is about giving what I have been put here to give.

Why are you here? Who needs you to do whatever it is that you do?

Find your WHY, and never stop doing it.