In my previous life I worked in a bookstore. In two bookstores in fact. It was a long time ago. One bookstore was my own and the other one was a job that I managed to get, right after I closed my business. My bookstore was sweet, and it was a shop with children’s books only, so it was especially lovely. I’ll tell you about it some other time.
Unfortunately the bookstore I was to work in now wasn’t that nice. Fairly small, very messy and the books they sold weren’t that much fun at all. They were academic books. I had some experience in running a similar business so they hired me. I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic at the time. The failure of my own business knocked my confidence. But I needed a job and I was a good fit. For now.
Hard working and diligent by nature I stepped into my new role. Soon after I realised that others employed in this company were not a very happy bunch. Right from the start this company was a temporary stopover for me, but their employment seemed to have long passed its expiry date. Ok then – I thought – this is going to be fun after all…
I still remember her. Her name was Monica. She had a full head of curly short hair, a lovely smile and it was so easy to be around her. She seemed to be ok with everything. All she wanted was to learn. For her, this was a Summer internship but she wasn’t a regular intern by no means.
She started one Monday and before we even opened, she was there, standing outside waiting for us. Ready. And from there, it was the same every morning all Summer. Don’t get me wrong. She wasn’t the ‘annoying, happy for no reason all the time’ type. She was very focused and understood the purpose of being around us. There was this phrase she used every morning “What’s on the list today?“ to find out what it was she was going to do. The truth was that the tasks weren’t that important to her. She accepted them all with equal enthusiasm. All she wanted was to learn. I knew however that repetition bothered her. She needed a challenge. Every day she would look over my shoulder to see the screen “Why did you change this price?”, “Can you show me how to do that?”, “Who are you calling?” , “When is our next delivery?”, “Why can’t they just send us the missing copies?”. Every day all Summer. She wanted to know. Every time I said that I had no time or there was a task I needed to do alone, she would look into my eyes and say “I really want to learn.” And I believed her…
Her image comes back to me every now and then in a very particular way. There was something that made her different, something that made her stand out. Even since than I have not met another person like her and I am still not this person myself.
The Internet is filled with articles, posts, blogs and videos on this, that and the other. You can be sure that whatever challenge you face in life, if you Google it, there will be some answer or at least someone who is going through the same. They say: “If it’s not in Google, it doesn’t exist”. Every day I come across articles on business, leadership, success and the way the highest achievers on this planet got to where they are. It’s always interesting but is it enough. We read it, and then what?
Have you ever thought about it… If there is so much access to information, updates on the best practices, knowledge on entrepreneurship and tips on how to live the best life, are we truly happier? My intern Monica, kept asking for more insights into the bookstore business. Now quite often we don’t even have to ask. What we need and want to know is often freely available. Because of that are we truly closer to reaching our full potential? Are we all succeeding with ease? Are we more satisfied with lives that we live? Probably not. But why? We can just take all this great advice, read all books and blogs on living the perfect live and loving your job. And then just go, apply it. Great! Here is a recipe for success. But it doesn’t seem to work this way… have you noticed? Knowing is not doing. Why are we not making the most of it?
One of my favourite sayings is “There has never been a better time to be alive” and I truly believe it’s true. What makes our times unique and exceptional is the wealth of possibilities and options to choose from. It has never been easier to contact the right person or to find the right piece of information. This free access however is not going to transform our lives. No matter how much time I spend reading available resources, it is still me who has to step up, show up and make it happen. Not just think about it. Knowledge is passive. It comes alive through our behaviours and actions.
Making it happen, just like Monica. Showing up with enthusiasm, wanting more, better, faster. She was exceptional in her desire to progress.
When have you last wanted something and did anything you could to get it. When have you last wanted something and was adamant that it was going to be yours. When have you last wanted something so much that you decided to find any and every possible way to enable it. If necessary with audacity and bravery you asked for it and just like Monica said “I want it. I really want it.” When have you last desired your goal in the way that was beyond any limitation, in the way that would motivate you and drive you towards any possible solution and way forward. When have you last wanted something so much that it silenced the voice in your head telling you that “You don’t deserve it, you’re not good enough and everyone will find out about it very soon“. When have you last wanted something so much that you simply didn’t wait for anything and anyone to give it to you. You wanted it so you knew that it was practically already yours.
I assisted Monica with her learning as much as I could. There were times when, to my amazement, she didn’t leave me much to do. After her first month with us she could easily step up and cover my tasks. We really missed her when she finished her last day at the end of August. “What a great person. She has so much energy. I wish I was like that…” some of my colleagues would say.
What do you want from life? Start now!
Photo courtesy of by phasinphoto
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