The Source of Your ActionsOctober 24, 2009
What is it you most want? What are your intents? It is these that react to your environment, improvising appropriate responses in a complex variety of circumstance impossible to predict. They shape your conduct, informing your life, so it behooves you to give them some thought.
I worked a 9-5 job 1989-2002, at the World Bank in Washington, DC. I first tried to make my exit in 1995, fashioning a business for myself I called Untangling the Web. The Internet had landed on the corporate desktop and most people did not know what to do with it. I was going to be a web guru. I put together a presentation and tried it out internally. It was a huge success. In 6 months I presented to over 2,000 employees, plus I was video-taped and the tapes were shipped to World Bank offices around the world. Afterward, I was offered the largest raise of my life and asked to help shape the culture of the institution. I stayed for another 2 years, helping the Knowledge Management program which became a world-class success.
One large-scale initiative followed another, each offer more sexier than the last until I had the opportunity to work closely with President Jim Wolfensohn as the member of the Internal Communications Team. Finally, in 2002, I made it out the door into the free, open air. My director gave me a going-away lunch and asked me in front of everyone, “What’s the best thing about leaving your job?” Walking out onto the street when this lunch is over, I said.
I have always been a free agent at heart. I love avoiding the morning commute, going for walks along the C&O Canal in the middle of the day, greeting my son when he comes home from school at 3 in the afternoon, and having long talks with my wife over breakfast. I also love my clients, getting to know the CEOs who make America hum, learning different industries, and watching their organizations’ performance improve as a result of my guidance.
Freelancing is a lifestyle. It means I can make as much money as I want, which isn’t as much as many seek, and more importantly spend my time with people whose company I treasure. This is the source of my actions. What’s yours?