Seth Godin wrote a post today on his blog that made me pause and re-consider some questions I've been thinking about recently. He talked about the patience of the albatross. It can often sit in the water or on land for days waiting for the right wind to carry it up, up, and away. It can fly for days or weeks, non-stop, with a resting heart rate. It's an incredible lesson in biology, with many applications to our lives.
Seth talks about Albatross businesses - those that favor a long, slow ramp-up with an eye toward longevity. He promotes patience as more than a virtue - it's a method of survival. And this is a good lesson not only for business, particularly entrepreneurial ventures, but also anything that is worth our personal time. This can be a personal relationship, a friendship, a hobby. I am thinking about it in the context of my writing and career and I hope these thoughts will help you think about this principle in the context of your own life.
My writing: I started this blog on a whim about a year and a half ago. My friend, Stephen, said he liked my writing and hoped I'd continue doing it. I knew nothing about social media at the time. He suggested a blog. I googled the words "create blog", Blogger came up as the top search engine return (no surprise since Google owns Blogger), and I put up a few posts that were copies of the newspaper articles I had written over the course of a year. I didn't know what else to write about so I'd just jot down funny or interesting things that would happen to me throughout the day. And pretty soon, I was cranking along with a decent body of work. Over 400 posts to date. Where am I going with my blog? Not quite sure yet - but goodness am I enjoying the writing and it's become a hobby I hope to continue throughout my life. At my friend, Anne's, suggestion I am consider turning some of the posts into a collection of essays for publication on a more public scale. Just like the albatross, I'm searching for the right air current to launch a project like that.
My career: I'm 32 and have spent the better part of 10 years intensely studying human behavior and product and service development. I've cobbled together this beautiful tapestry of experience with that experience I have found a many colorful characters that have become my greatest treasure. Their collective diversity is a reflection of the many twists and turns my life has taken. I review the expertise I've built and the successes I can point to and wonder what's next? Where do I go from here? How do I know what current to look for?
Part of the albatross equation is knowing where you want the current to carry you so you can quickly identify it when it comes your way. Extending your wings is the easy part. The challenge, and ultimately the reward, comes when you have taken a 360 look around from wherever you are now and determined the direction you need to go. The albatross doesn't concern itself with the length of trip, his wings will carry him as far as they need to. He cares only about the destination.
The above photo can be found at: http://www.blather.net/abroad/antarctic/_MG_7970_albatross_skimming_500.jpg