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Symbiosis | Sharing | Harmony
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Dec03

Why Let Fear Or Complacency Take Over Our Lives?

by Lee Sok Lian|李淑莲

Once when I was a young man, barely out of college, I had a dream job in an advertising agency, the kind most college grads would kill for.  
 
The trouble was, I wasn’t very happy. I wanted to be happy, but I wasn’t.  
 
I wanted to love my job, but I couldn’t.  
 
To be fair, I’m not sure many other people in my office loved their job much, either. It was a tough gig. A tough, soul-sucking, thankless gig. I was glad to leave, I think most would have been as well.  
 
Since then my career has been solely driven by the need to find work that I love. I’m less worried about money, doing what you love is the easiest way I know of getting paid well.  
 
I don’t think it’s a bad strategy, not at all…
 
--From “I Wanted To Fall In Love” by gapingvoid: business transformation through art

In life coaching (using UCMHP as main tool) sessions, I come across a growing number of mid-career clients who are desperately unhappy but unwilling to make changes in their lives out of fear or complacency, or a combination of both. They are stuck in a rut.

Their UCM charts clearly indicate that they are either supporting, or controlled by, a certain element that weighs them down. Unless they get out of the rut, they will most likely remain stuck in a soul-sucking position --- and a life of mediocrity.

I know this stuck-in-a-rut feeling.

In my mid-30s, when I was making the rounds in Toastmasters Clubs in Singapore, I met people from all walks of life. Through the ten prepared speeches we deliver for evaluation at weekly meetings, Toastmasters get to know -- and form lasting friendships with -- others. Toastmasters meetings therefore can be excellent recruiting ground for those on the lookout for talent.

My love of cars and driving became the subject of one of my Competent Toastmaster Manual projects. A visiting Toastmaster, the niece of a Chinese car manufacturer, took note of my presentation and immediately made me an offer that most people would jump at. The car manufacturer was looking for a “hardworking, reliable and mature” individual to head up a distributor’s office in one of the lesser-known American cities. He/She must love cars and driving, possess a good command of English, and be able to work independently.

In those days, the Chinese brands had not yet made inroads into the Western market. All I could see in my mind’s eye was a warehouse chock-full of made-in-China vehicles that nobody wanted! I politely turned down the offer.

On my UCM chart are three sets of cherry blossom numbers indicating investors and others wanting to support me and presenting me with all kinds of opportunities.

When I was working in Jakarta, a good friend who understands me well made me a business proposal out of the blue. I was making a good living (teaching in a national-plus school) and saw no reason to make life-changing decisions that might make me destitute. Many Singaporean families were hiring domestic maids from Indonesia in those days. Maid agencies flourished, with business-savvy types heading out to Indonesia to recruit maids.

Anne saw the opportunity right away. Since I was based in Jakarta, and conversant in both the local language and English, Anne thought I was the best person to recruit maids as well as take charge of the conversational English component of the maids’ training. I had befriended the local people and had ready access to tens of dozens of villagers living in Kebun Jeruk, right beside the condominium where I stayed. She and another friend would take care of all the administrative details and the skills training. I was not even required to contribute to startup costs! If the offer sounded too good to be true, it truly was.

I agonized over it for days, saw the huge potential of the business venture (most maids from rural Indonesia lacked the requisite skills to cope in Singapore and would benefit from language and skills training), and turned down the offer.

I was way too settled in my career, was very comfortable where I was, and had just been accepted by an international school in Shanghai. Not wanting to leave my comfort zone, I turned down this exciting once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and left Jakarta for Shanghai.

Knowing what I do now about the universal characteristic method of human profiling (UCMHP) and the Star of Knowledge guide to our choice of career, I make better life choices and help others to do so.

Why let fear of failure or complacency take over our lives?