Friday evening 7:00 PM, most of the colleagues are rushing home. Access system at the door constantly beeping as an acknowledgement to every passer-by that ‘You may go home’. Excitement in every face which was hardly seen at the time of entry. It felt like many mechanical life are just getting liberated.It feels like kids rushing out of school hearing the exit bell. It feels like birds are leaving a cage after many years.
I am watching these while my headphone is constantly supplying with information that everybody feels important, except me. A meeting, I did not know how I landed up attending or first of all getting invited to. I am doing everything except focusing on the meeting.It looks like every second is taking hours to pass. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, PinIt, Various websites as well as WhatsApp in my phone are not able to keep me patient. I want to go home and get out of this place. I don’t have any plans for the weekend but at least I will do something interesting.
As soon as one kind person in the meeting said, “Thank you all for your valuable time…”, I disconnected the phone to get ready to fly off. I got up, took my laptop from its docking station and was about to put it in the bag, I noticed one young boy who joined few months back sitting at his desk and passionately working on something. A strange scene to see on a Friday evening from a young boy. I went up to him and asked, “Hey, what’s up. How are things going?”.
“I have a problem”, He said at once.
“What problem, may I help you?”, I asked assuming it would be a small question for which I must be having a two word answer and then I can fly off.
“Why are we doing what we are doing?”, he asked.
“What do you mean?” I asked, I was clueless about the context and wanted to know more.
“I really don’t understand why we do many things at office and who is getting benefited by all these”, he asked with real concern in his voice.
I was bit uncomfortable as I felt as if he has noticed me browsing social networking sites, personal email and many other activities while in a conference call. I was a senior developer in the company working since past 10 years, I have a reputation and I was the one who trained him when he joined this company six months back. I was not in the state of mind to hear from him what I should not be doing at work. I was feeling as if my ego was awakened from a deep sleep by a kid. My arrogance was getting itself armed to fight this boy out. My mind was trying to cloud its intellect with anger and arrogance. I was not ready to spil my weekend over a kid telling me what I should not do at work.
“Hey just a request. Can we discuss on Monday? I have something urgent to do so I have to leave office now.”, I said to avoid the unpleasant conversation.
He politely acknowledged. I was also thinking that he might think I am avoiding the discussion but let it be. I am not ready now to talk.
But the discomfort that his question created in my mind could not get rest despite my all attempts. I used to think myself as one of the smartest guys in my circle and my every action has a meaning. But it seems I have lost myself somewhere on the way. I also realized that I was getting tired more often lately and have lost the enthusiasm to attack every task with full energy and get them accomplished with pride. I am just dragging myself on this journey for past few years. I am not sure what I am doing and why.
Sat next to my grand father who was reading books sitting on his bed. He is a voracious reader and extremely enthusiastic person. He is very inquisitive and has knowledge to talk on any subject. When I say any subject, I mean it. He can talk about computer programming as well. I explained my problem with him.
“What do you need from me?, He asked.
I was surprised by his question. I explained him my problem and that means I need a solution. I asked him the obvious. “Give me solution to my problem”.
“What do you think your problem is?”, he asked to my surprise.
I assumed, my grand father has become very old and unable to understand what I am saying. He may need a doctor.
“I have lost my enthusiasm. I am not enjoying what I am doing. I am dragging myself throughout the day. In order to pass the time I am getting involved with activities which are just time killers and do not give any productivity.”, I explained again.
“Okay, You said, you lost enthusiasm. Can you elaborate that for me please?”, He asked with inquisitiveness.
“I am not enjoying the work I do at office. I don’t see any value in doing that. I don’t think my job is important enough and anybody can do that. I am just a place holder. I am a principal software engineer as per designation but I do the same work as any junior developer does.”, I explained.
“I see!! Who do you think should fix this problem? Whose job it is to make your presence valuable and important”, He asked.
“My manager should give me some responsibility. I have proven myself again and again in past 10 years, it is time I should get some responsibility. That would make my job valuable and I will be excited”. I said with great enthusiasm.”
“Okay. Good. So I think you know what to do now. I don’t know much about the nature of your job but in circus I always see the ring master always comes up with a new game ideas every season and trains the animals on that. May be your manager has to come up with a new idea to train you further so that you get motivated. “, He said.
I was irritated by this response. Why is he comparing me with an animal. Why should manager be the ring master. I am a senior member and have lot of respect. Every my manaer respects me. But after thinking over I realized what my grand father meant.
“No!! I don’t think that’s the way to go. I think there is something more needs to be done.”, I protested.
“Go ahead and tell me”, He said.
“I think I am not taking my job seriously. I don’t think my manager knows what extra I can do as a principal software engineer beyond the regular work. I think I should come up with the ideas regarding what all additional work I can do. I think I should be leading here and give a fight to the resistance till I am satisfied or other are convinced. Its me who needs to work and think, not others.”, I said slowly as I was thinking while talking but with great enthusiasm.
“Great!! I heard you saying “I” in every actionable statement. That’s the beginning and this is called self-realization but…you will not succeed.”. Grand Father said wearing a suspicious smile.
“Why? I will do all these? I will ensure I take action on each of these? Why do you say I will not succeed?”, I inquired.
“You need to act and have you decided that you need to act. If so, what would be your action and when you will take the action, that is important to identify. Unless you prepare a good plan and strictly stick to it you will not succeed.”, My grand father said.
I realized that in past I promised big things to him but never took any action despite great intentions. Intentions don’t make you but actions. I quickly thought and wrote down the plans for future and started following on it. Every evening I made it a practice to sit next to my grand father and update him on my actions.
I realized that we have good thoughts but we are either scared or lazy to take actions. A mediocre person is a person with great thoughts but self limiting beliefs.These limiting beliefs stop the person to take actions and let him/her spend the time with some or other mode of lesser quality entertainment. I was doing the same. I was expecting others to give me importance and trigger greatness in me with a great over confidence that I am better than everybody around me. As all actions were expected to be taken by others I had hardly anything to do other than entertaining myself through various toys that current age provides. If I would not have been triggered by the young boy sitting at the corner, I would never have realized that. But today with my grandfathers simple yet powerful questions I have come up with time-bound goals and I have more work that I can think I could do in a day but I enjoy my every moment like a baby.
The very next monday I went to office and asked the young boy, “He I am sorry for lraving that day without completing discussing your problem. May we discuss now?”
He said. “Thats okay, It was not urgent. I am being asked to fix defects which were missed by senior members during the release and I have been doing this since past 3 months. I want to understand why I am fixing the defects when they can fix their own defects quickly and know what mistakes they made while developing it.”, He explained.
I got a sense of relief after listening to his question and understanding the context. I had an answer for his question, I explained him up to his satisfaction. I thanked him for triggering the most valuable thought in my mind and I was happy that I did not discuss the problem that day. Otherwise I would not have got the direction in my life.
– Stray Dog
Note: This post is following the coaching techniques a life coach would use to help a client come out of any problem they have. This is just very minimal usage of the technique. If you have any problem you may contact me.