by Dustin Thompson
There was a young boy who had a small pond in his yard. He loved that pond and would go down to the water's edge to feed the fish and try to catch the small ones who would swim close to him. The boy’s father noticed how much his son enjoyed those fish so he got him his very own goldfish and the boy loved his little nugget of a fish. The boy decided to give the fish the experience of the pond, but keep him safely in the bowl. So he closed the bowl off with a screen and lowered it into the shallows. As the weeks passed and the fish grew, the boy removed the screen so that the fish could venture into the environment that would let him grow to his biggest potential. As a few more weeks passed the boy saw that the fish would never leave his bowl. Eventually he found his friend dead in his bowl.
What got our young boys fish killed? The fish was now in a large lake, room to grow, room to thrive, and be the two foot long thirty pound monster that he was meant to be! The environment changed, but his fish wasn’t fully in it. He was still clinging to the “safety” of the bowl. He needed to remove himself from the bowl to reach his potential. And that is really scary because that bowl seems like it is such a great and safe place to be, but it slowly killed the fish! You see, it is a myth that a goldfish will stop growing once its reached the correct size for its environment. Staying within that restrictive environment will cause stress related illnesses that will kill the fish. It was the safe feeling environment that actually caused the stress that killed the fish!
There is a very important lesson for us in that illustration. When we choose to avoid feeling uncomfortable and fearful we are causing ourselves harm. We can do ourselves a lot of harm by choosing to stay in the environment that we feel ‘safe’ in. All of our youth and into adulthood we have been taught that trading time for money is the way to ‘make it’ in this world. That is the model for the last century or more of our culture in the U.S. And it is scary because we can be convinced that we are safe there. “Just sit there in your little bowl little fish, and keep quiet, you’ll get a reward when the clock says so”. But it's the stress and the personal atrophy that is going to kill us and rob us of the joy that makes life worth living.
I am so proud of each and every one of you that is and has gotten out of that “fishbowl” of being an employee! You are now in an environment that is designed for you to thrive and grow and be the great person you were designed to be. But if we hold onto what “seems” to be so safe, we won't make it. If substantial commission pay is too scary, if 250 dials is too exhausting, if being invited into someone's home to help them protect their family is just too daunting then we won't make it. Running back to that bowl, though, is not going to help. The solution is growth.
Growth is an interesting thing. We have three options when it comes to growing as people; we are FORCED to grow by circumstances, we CHOOSE to grow by making choices that facilitate that, or we atrophy and wither away. Those are the ONLY three choices. Humans are amazing, dynamic creations! But we never remain static and unchanging. We have two states, hypertrophy or atrophy, grow or wither. You are all growers! You’re here because you want to grow. You’ve stayed because you recognize that where you are will help you grow. We are all extremely proud of the team that we are becoming! You all make the leaders on this team very excited to have such an awesome group of growers!! So stay out of that ‘safer in the bowl’ mindset! Cause you’ve got what it takes, you're proving that every week. We are about to have one of our best months ever as an agency, and its the shortest month of the year! Keep on growing, keep on fighting, keep on being awesome!