Photo of kid holding a tooth
Photo copyright ©1998 David J Crone. All rights reserved.

Change can be painful. So can maintaining the status quo.

Do you still have your wisdom teeth? I still have mine. Every dentist I have been to as an adult has suggested that I have them removed. “Why? They’re perfectly good teeth.”, I would ask them. “Because it’s hard for us to clean back there.”, was always the answer. In other words, they wanted me to have my wisdom teeth removed for their benefit, not mine.

My standard response to their pleas has always been, “I’ll have my wisdom teeth removed when they are more of a problem for me than for you.”

Guess what? We’re there. As I type this, I am in immense pain from an issue with my wisdom teeth. I am slated to go see my dentist later today and I can’t wait. I am ready to say, “Yank those suckers out of there! Whatever! Just make the pain stop. Please!”

Why have I put this off for so long? Let me tell you a little story.

Like many people, I had braces as a kid. Unlike most people, my orthodontist created a plan to make room for my wisdom teeth to come in rather than set the expectation of having them removed later. To do this, he removed 4 teeth in the front portion of my mouth and moved everything forward. These were my eyeteeth on top and corresponding teeth on the bottom. That sounds strange looking back, but it made sense at the time. One of the eyeteeth was impacted and needed to come out anyway.

The result of this procedure 40 years ago is that I still have my wisdom teeth. The process of having those other 4 teeth removed and years of orthodontia to close the gap to make room for the wisdom teeth to come in was such an ordeal, I have been stubborn about any suggestion to have those wisdom teeth removed. Plus, they haven’t bothered me before.

To have my wisdom teeth removed would be to suggest it was a mistake to have gone about this in the way it was done originally. Admit a mistake? Not me!

Where in your life or career are you making this same kind of choice? Where are you resisting making a change because to do so would feel like you are admitting to a mistake? Where are you resisting a change because of how much effort you put forth to get to where you are right now? Is someone you know suggesting you make a change and you resist because that change is more for their benefit than yours?

Which is more painful, staying in your current situation or making a change?

For most of us, the pain of continuing the current behavior exceeds the pain we anticipate encountering in making the change.

The reality is, having the dental procedure I did when I was a kid was the right choice AT THAT TIME. The choices you have made that have you in the situation you are in right now were likely the right choices AT THAT TIME.

Each day we need to revisit the situation and decide whether staying where we are is still the right choice AT THIS TIME.

For me, that means more dental work, as soon as possible. I am ready to make that change. What does it mean for you? What’s your pain level? Is it time to make a change?


Skills Gap

Image of lobster cages
Photo copyright ©2017 David J Crone. All rights reserved.

Are you having trouble finding people with the right skills for your posted job openings? You’re not alone.

I continue to read article after article about companies and hiring managers complaining about their challenges in finding “qualified candidates” for open positions.

Here’s a thought. Maybe you’re not qualified to be a hiring manager.

Yes, I just said that.

Look at your own career. Give it a good serious look. How many different positions have you held? If you’re reading this blog, I’m guessing it’s been more than one. Make a list. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Don’t just count different companies. Include changes within a company when you had a significant change in job responsibilities. You can skip promotions within the same job family (adding “senior” to your title, or changing the classification from “I” to “II”). But, do include significant changes in responsibilities, such as Manager to Director or VP, and moving divisions where the fundamental aspects of the job are significantly different.

Got it? Good. Now, using a 5-point scale, beside each position, give yourself a TRUE ranking of how qualified you were for that position on DAY ONE. Not a year later. Day one, when you walked in the door to start that job. Be honest.

Scale: 1=Not qualified, what the heck were they thinking? 2=No experience in this specific area, but have other skills that can apply with a bit of training. 3=Some specific experience, understanding of general concepts, need help with specifics of this job/company/department. 4=Confident. Hit the ground running with some room for growth. 5=Subject matter expert, same job new place.

How’d you fare? How many 5’s did you get? Any 1’s? Just a guess, but I’ll bet you had mostly 2’s, a couple 3’s, and maybe even a 4.

My career has been full of 2’s and 3’s. I had one 4. And that 4? I walked in the door thinking I was a 5. I was wrong.

When I read these articles it is clear that these hiring managers are complaining because they only want to hire 5’s. And yet how many of these people rate a 5 themselves? None. Not a single one of them. I say that with complete confidence. Because if they were truly a 5 as a hiring manager, they wouldn’t be whining about a lack of qualified candidates – they’d be CREATING their own pool of qualified candidates.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again (and again, and again…) When it comes to finding qualified candidates, hire for ATTITUDE and APTITUDE. Train for everything else.

Now go out there and find yourself some great 2’s and 3’s.

I’ve Got a Golden Ticket

Photo of Powerball Lottery ticket

If you’ve seen the movie, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, or read the original book, “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory” by Roal Dahl, then you know about the contest to find a Golden Ticket. You might even recall the song, “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket“.

In this song, Grandpa Joe pines away with the lyrics:

I never had a chance to shine
Never a happy song to sing
But suddenly half the world is mine
What an amazing thing
‘Cause I’ve got a golden ticket

Before the Golden Ticket, Grandpa Joe did not get out of bed. He felt he had no reason to. Then, all of a sudden, because of that ticket, he sees possibilities. He gets out of bed, sings and dances around the room. It’s a happy day.

This book was originally published in 1964. Today we have a similar concept to the Golden Ticket. It’s called Powerball.

Admit it. You know you’ve wondered what it would be like to win the big jackpot. How would your life change if you won $447 million dollars like the one lucky winner did on June 10, 2017?

I know you’ve joked about, “When we win the lottery…” We use that phrase often in our household. It’s usually followed by, “It would help if we bought a ticket.” So, recently, I did. The jackpot hit $375 million and I thought, what the heck. Let’s have some fun.

When I buy a ticket (a rare occurrence), I go all in. I put the ticket up on the bulletin board in our kitchen. I actively contemplate what we would do if we won. We talk about it. I write about it in my journal. It inspires a blog post. (Did I just make that ticket tax deductible?) We play lots of “what if” games. We dance around the house singing, “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket”. Hey, if you’re going to play the game right, you have to believe that your ticket could have the winning numbers. You have to go all in.

After the initial excitement dies down, we realize we wouldn’t really want to win that huge jackpot. Sure, it’d be fun to always travel by private jet, to have a vacation home (or two), to buy a new sports car and build a garage to hold it. For a while.

But, you know what? None of these extravagant purchases would make life any better. It would only make it different. When we get past the rush, the burden of dealing with a jackpot of that size becomes palpable.

That’s when the game changes. We start playing another game where we contemplate: if we could define our own jackpot, how big would it be? From there, we start thinking about what changes we could make that would allow us to achieve our more realistic desires without the benefit of a winning lottery ticket.

You don’t have to wait for a Golden Ticket. Chance are, you really can have the life you dream about if you make the choices and take action steps needed to get you there. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it’s there. It is possible.

Of course, if that dream involves winning a huge jackpot, be sure you buy a ticket.


Lost at SEA

Photo of sailboat
Photo copyright ©2017 David J Crone. All rights reserved

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be lost at sea? I’m willing to bet you have been. You might even be there now. Lost, adrift, with no idea where you are, how you got here, or where you are going.

I’m not talking about finding yourself all alone on a sailboat with no land in sight. I am referring to a different type of sea – Someone Else’s Agenda.

There can be comfort in fulfilling someone else’s agenda. We know what we should be doing. We get to simply show up and follow directions. Do this, do that, collect a paycheck, go home, repeat.

Often, though, when we get totally sucked into someone else’s agenda, we wake up one day to realize we have no idea where we are, how we got there, or which direction we should head next to reach our goals. We might not even know what our goals are anymore. They’ve been tossed overboard while we were lost at sea.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with following someone else’s agenda. For most of us, riding on someone else’s boat is a great way to get where we are going. The problem arises when that ship is not going where we want to go. By the time we realize this, it can be difficult to get off.

Take some time to look around. Is the ship you are on still going the direction you wish to travel? Yes? Super! Steady on. Full steam ahead.

If not, did the ship change course? Or is it you that has set a new destination? Either way, it’s up to you to take corrective action. Do it now.

Here’s to smooth sailing and following YOA – You’re Own Agenda.