Hey Ya’ll, It’s the ARM Dude here. An old friend of mine recently wrote that he had just realized that “Right now is a great time”. This was a powerful message because it was coming from a business owner that has seen his share of challenges over the last year. He explained how this revelation came to him after we had lunch together recently. We had spent the hour catching up on each others life as well as some of the folks that we had worked with over the years. I call his revelation a “light switch” moment. I am not talking about that little thing we flip when entering a dark room. Instead, I am talking about that instant in time when a subject, task, or idea suddenly becomes crystal clear in our minds. The feeling of empowerment that is experienced during these moments is so liberating that it can knock down all obstacles that may be preventing us from achieving our goals.

There have been many “light switch” moments in my career. Most of these moments were triggered by older or more mature co-workers of mine. Other times it would be an article read or a training class attended that help move the switch to the ON position. For example, there was that sr. technician that pulled me aside early in my career. He recognized that I was struggling to meet the production outputs my employer and I expected. He told me that I was spending too much time beating myself up because I thought I should know all of the answers. His message to me was that I will never know all of the answers and that failure was just around the corner if I ever did think I knew it all. He wrapped the conversation up by stating that it was my job to know where to find the answers. “Click”. Immediately my daily output began to soar.

I have never forgotten how that conversation impacted my career. It encouraged me to look for opportunities to share my experiences with younger co-workers in the hope that I can have a similar impact on their careers. I have done this because it has been my belief that part of the whole maturation process is to mentor younger, less experienced teammates. A recent “light switch” moment flipped the tables on me though. This time it was me being mentored by the youngest of young. The spark it provided was invigorating. The mentoring source originated from time spent with my two grandsons. Let me explain.

This year began with an emphasis on better marketing the capabilities of BCS ProSoft and the product and services that we provide. Business was dropping off as prospects were locking down their IT expenditures in order to better survive the economic downturn. Traditional methods of generating leads such as cold calling and sending out mailings were not delivering results. It was beginning to impact my attitude and confidence. This all changed for me one evening when my grandsons came over to spend the night. We went on an adventure by walking through the woods on my property. I noticed several perfectly formed fossils while doing so. My place is covered with these things. After our adventure, we went back in to say goodbye to my daughter before she left. My 3yr old grandson didn’t want her to leave until he could show me a game that he liked to play on her iPhone. He was really good at the game but I was more surprised at how comfortable he was using this device. My night ended with me lying in bed replaying the evening’s activities with the boys. I could hear them calling me Dude, I could see those fossils in my head, and I kept thinking about that iPhone. I then began to think about things I needed to do at work the next day. “Click”.

It was in that moment of clarity that I realized that I had two choices in front of me. Change the way I conduct business or become a fossil. The latter of the two choices was not appealing to me at all so I jumped at the chance to embrace change. This did not mean that I had to throw away the knowledge compiled during my career. Instead it meant that I needed to expand upon my methods of communicating by embracing new tools available to us all like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Doing this would mean stepping out of my comfort zone. It would also mean exposure to criticism if people don’t understand my message. The rewards are worth these risks though because it provides me with new opportunities to help our current customer base, our partners, and new prospects as well. It also provides me with an opportunity to improve upon my communication skills. Another pleasant side effect is that it added some fun back in to my workday. I can’t say that I have mastered any of these tools yet but I am confident that the light switch will flip ON soon.

This brings me to my closing question. What are you and your company doing to make sure that you don’t become a fossil? Share with everyone by leaving a comment.