A positive outcome of these turbulent times is that it’s reminding us to never get too attached to our jobs, “stuff” we’ve accumulated, or circumstance of our lives. It’s all here today and gone tomorrow. I’ve been studying the ancient wisdom of Buddhist philosophy for many years. A key teaching is accepting life’s impermanence and practicing detachment.
In my new book Growing @ the Speed of Change (to be published this summer/fall) I wrote the following vignette:
Julia was exhausted. Business was outstanding. Their team was scrambling to keep up and she was stretched thin. They had trouble finding enough good people to fill the new positions that were being created by the company’s rapid growth.
During a family gathering she talked about her crazy-busy life and shared her frustration with a favorite uncle who was semi-retired from decades of building successful businesses. Uncle Vern had become a mentor and great sounding board for Julia. He smiled knowingly as she outlined her growth problems at work. As they talked Uncle Vern gave Julia nuggets of sage advice and his years of accumulated wisdom. The comment that she puzzled over most during the following weeks was “This too will pass.”
Julia was exhausted. Revenues had plunged off a cliff. In a few short months their high-growth market sharply reversed direction at a dizzying rate. Their company was scrambling to cut costs and began laying people off. She was stretched thin trying to cover vacant positions on her team. All the while Julia grew increasingly insecure about her own job.
During another family gathering Julia anxiously sought out Uncle Vern’s advice. He told her of similar market downturns he’d lived through and the sleepless nights he’d experienced as his life work and life savings hung in the balance. She took comfort in much of his wise counsel on the way home that evening. The comment that stayed with her over the coming weeks was “This too will pass.”