Life is People! - Life lesson in career transition
By Eric Schmidt
I had the fortune of meeting with a colleague recently who had worked at a company for 30 years before leaving – and he gave me the analogy, as we talked over coffee. “Put your finger in the cup” he said. “When you remove it, you will notice there is no hole left in the cup. Business is the same thing – it will fill your absence and move on.”
Our meeting came on the heels of leaving an organization after 19 years myself. Obviously, with leaving an organization after that much time – regardless of circumstance, comes a lot of soul searching and reflection – along with the excitement, anticipation and drive for what’s next (stay tuned for that – later in this blog).
With my recent departure, I learned an incredibly positive and valuable (and rather unexpected) lesson about life. One that is so incredibly important to me. Sometimes it takes a life event like this one for me to act as a reminder of what’s really important in life. In my case, I was reminded of the true value of relationships and friendships.
Life is people. That wisdom is truth. The quality of our life is the quality of our relationships. They are precious, chock full of love and the gateway to growth and fulfillment. So much of our fulfillment comes through our shared experiences with the people we love. And today I know that fulfillment is so much more important than achievement. That's why it’s worth pursuing what is meaningful. Even when it’s hard.
Some of your relationships you know are strong – but in reality prove to be so much stronger than you could have ever imagined. You also learn some things about people that you thought you were closer to. My transition has clarified incredible friendships, it has shown me folks that I believed I had a ‘business relationship’ with that have been willing to help and actually go out of their way to assist, offer encouragement and let me know how much they appreciated my work/effort. On the flip side, it has shown me people who I thought were friends with solid relationships built over the years – and they turned out to be mere circumstantial friends – friends of convenience or routine. This clarity of relationships and the power of true relationships is invaluable. Knowing that you have touched and impacted the careers of some folks and feeling and hearing the appreciation is incredible. And exposing the lack of true relationships with others has been just as equally invaluable.
Fast forward to today, and I was reading a blog by Ryan Estis (which can be found here). The title of it is: How to get unstuck.
I found the following portion to be incredibly relevant to me at this point in my life:
The biggest accelerator to getting unstuck and moving through fear is taking bold and decisive action. You may never feel completely ready to take that big leap of faith. I didn’t. But I’ve learned from experience that you have to simply step up and get started if you want to create the necessary momentum to move forward.
Navigating any significant life change is going to be hard work. Anticipate adversity and trust that mistakes are truly the place where we learn and grow. You are going to struggle. There will be missteps. You’re going to fail. I most definitely have. The good news is that failure isn’t final. It’s simply the next test we have to pass, and it helps us develop the resolve we need to eventually succeed and fulfill our purpose.
With that in mind, it is with great pride, excitement and happiness that I move forward in starting a new business venture. I am so incredibly fortunate, grateful and excited to be partnering with two of my closest friends – whom I have worked with for over 12 years.
Another quote from Ryan’s blog which feels incredibly relevant today is the following: When you love what you do and get to do it with people you love, work doesn’t feel much like a job anymore. It’s actually an extraordinary privilege.
It’s been an amazing adventure and an incredible time to re-connect and reach out to people and get feedback, thoughts and opinions. That’s a big part of our new organization – Understanding. It’s such a refreshing and cool reminder of the power of relationships and not to get too philosophical, but this whole experience of starting up a company, asking for help, connecting with folks from the past and meeting new people has been one of the most rewarding experiences I could have asked for. It’s a great reminder of what’s important in life – life is people and the relationships you have.