I just had a wonderful conversation with someone who I used to career coach. She’s learning about podcasting, and her reasons are spectacular. She’s crushing it at her job, but she’s an ambitious person, hungry for new skills beyond the ones she’s practicing there. She wants to find more ways to be valuable every day, so she’s hitting that goal in two ways – first, by learning about podcasting to begin with, and second with the subject of that podcast. Her idea is to interview someone successful every day, and ask them how they become more valuable every day.
Anyone with half of her ambition and drive will do very well in this world. That’s why I was so thrilled to talk to her. She’s part of The River.
What is The River? Imagine a drop of water hitting you. Does it do much to change your momentum, to move you in any particular direction? Despite the fact that in a very technical sense it does a little, you’d never notice it. Its impact would be negligible. No matter what direction that drop came from, your path wouldn’t change a bit.
But step into the river rapids, and the story is quite different. Whichever direction that river is going, you’re going that way too. Maybe you can fight the current, but it will always be pushing you with tremendous force. Maybe the current will be so strong you can’t resist it at all.
So you should only step in rivers that are pushing in the direction you want to go!
Individual people you interact with are like those drops of water. By themselves, none of them move you much. But all of the people you interact with together – that’s The River. If you surround yourself with people going in a negative direction, making bad or irresponsible choices, then that’s where your River will push you. You can fight it, but even if your own personal goals lay in a positive direction, you’re swimming upstream. But if you surround yourself with people going the way you want to go, if you surround yourself with ambitious, positive and curious people, then your River can push you to wondrous places.
Just as even a single drop of water raises the sea, each person contributes to the flow of The River. Make sure you’re choosing people that push the flow in the direction you want.