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Out of Our Minds
Friday, April 28, 2006 10:15 AM
Do You Belong?
Kevin Salwen on About Work

A friend and I were talking the other day about whether a Little League teammate of my son's would make the All-Star team. He acknowledged the kid's talent, but then added: "I don't know if he's got the sense of belonging, that the team is his." In other words, would this boy do the "deer in the headlights" thing at the next level of difficulty or step up to the challenge? Was he ready to take ownership of his environment?
We see similar things in business, politics and life, of course. Some people naturally take the reins, they have that "it" that makes others believe they can handle a situation. Some refer to it as confidence, some as arrogance. Still others may never have it.
Here at Worthwhile, we're raising capital to build on our successes in the magazine and online. We look 2 years out and know what a phenomenal business there is to grab as more people demand a worklife of passion and purpose (yes, this is a sea change) -- and we have to show potential investors that we're the ones with the right plan and the "sense of belonging." (The reverse is true too: We look to see if they "belong" with us.)
How about you? Is your sense of belonging always authentic? How do you pump yourself up for it?


Janet Auty-Carlisle - 4/30/2006 11:03:31 PM
Hey John, You're asking for feedback....so here goes..First off, what do you mean by the last lines you wrote? "Playing it safe robs you of passion, yet more often than not yields you the greatest reward in the long term..." What is the "greatest reward" you speak of in this sense? And then you say...."many of us are not strong enough to belong to bolder dreams.." What does that mean? I love how you began your writing with such eloquence and ability to bring the reader into how you felt....I also had the same feeling at the end of the piece but I'm not sure that was your intention. Sounds as if you are unclear and unsure about "playing it safe."Personally, I don't believe in "playing it safe" unless we're talking personal safety issues: my perspective only and I do own that perspective. My job, which I like to tell people is an elephant trainer, is to help people find the elephant in their rooms that is so large they know it's there but don't know how to make it go away...instead of playing it safe and just making room and feeding the elephant, the person learns how to acknowledge the elephant and then train it to go to where it belongs....and that's not in your space! John, there are many people with elephants in their space....are you possibly one of them? Living la vida fearless, Jan
Kate - 4/28/2006 5:28:14 PM
My sense of belonging has always felt internally fueled, inspired by a simple-but-true maxim my parents and grandparents told me when I was just a kid: "Whatever you do, do it 100% and try to be the best. You can ride on a garbage truck if that's what you want to do, but be the best garbageperson you can be." While I never made it to the trash truck, I did have a series of McJobs at various times that were not, on the surface anything close to my vocational dreams. By attacking them with vigor and a why-not-make-it-good-since-I'm-here mentality, I learned great lessons for later and made a ton of connections I wouldn't have gotten otherwise. Sometimes it took some hefty pretending, but I think you can decide to belong just about anywhere - even when you know it's just temporary.
joe - 4/28/2006 4:48:10 PM
How do you pump your self up? You convience yourself that the decisions you make are based on the options in front of you with the data you have a hand. You won't know if you are right or wrong until it is too late to change it. If it is athletics try your best, know there is someone better and some one worse. Sometime playing it safe works. If you are on the edge of a cliff and all your buddies have ultra light kites, but you don't. Don't follow. But if you have one, face the wind and go, you will see the world from a different perspective and you might like what you found out about yourself.
John Gorman - 4/28/2006 1:28:00 PM
"Wherever I am is home." -Anon As a young professional, I was concerned about how I would first enter the "real-job" market fresh out of college. Greener than Kermit, fresher than Florida Orange Juice, and completely clueless... I stumbled my way into the office on my first day thinking I was the black sheep in a conformist world. What a shock and surprise as I got to learn more about my co-workers. Most all of them suffer the same self-doubt! Many of them ask and silently wonder about their own place in the office, and in the greater society. This is when it hit me: The vast majority of office rats are just rockstars, firemen, and astronauts that went for their back-up plan and "played it safe." Playing it safe robs you of passion, yet more often than not yields you the greatest reward in the long term... since many of us are not strong enough to "belong" to bolder dreams. I'm actually not sure if that made any sense. Feedback?


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