Sometimes I think I'm midway through a marathon and everyone else is lining up in the blocks for a sprint. For a long time I thought my only choices were either shifting gears (with great reluctance) or plodding along (at great risk). Now I'm thinking I can do both, maybe even at the same time.
The marathon at work doesn't place too many demands on me. I've been running this race for so long that I've found a comfortable pace that gets me from one point to the next without too much stumbling. It's a matter of doing the work, and I can do the work. Once in a while the work will pile up and I'll have to move a little faster, but I always find a way to catch up.
The sprint is either a minor distraction or something that will throw me off course forever. In specific terms, it's tied to the business growth imperative, a concept I don't necessarily believe in. Maybe that's because I'm an old war horse, and it's the young colts who are pulling this particular wagon.
I just don't agree that this is a good time to take unnecessary risks for the sake of growth, because the odds of success are long and the chances slim. Back in the mid nineties, when I was younger and hungrier and the economy was more robust, I might have been willing to take a big bite out of the future. Now I just want to be sure there is one when I get there. Of course, I'm a lot closer to it than the youngsters who want to make all that money. I need survival more than I need money.
So I'm not exactly dragging my heels when it comes to helping Tim get ready for his big meeting Friday. I'm feeding him a little positive reinforcement, and then casually mentioning a few ways in which what he wants to do is unlikely to work and impossible to be sure of. A spoonful of sugar, you know.
The trouble is, he hears what he wants to hear. He shrugs off the bad news, or blocks it out entirely, and all he hears of "yes, but" is "yes." I'd like him to hear the "but" once in a while.