The right strategy is the strategy a person can actually stick to. This is resilience. It might not be “the best” strategy, it might not be “optimal” – but, it’s the strategy that will get the job done. Professionally, we create value when we build resilience into our clients via our work. We succeed when we help them to find ways to deal with the ups, downs, and sideways of whatever the world hurls at their heads next.
Jessi Hempel wrote a piece on Jerry Colonna for Wired (“This Man Makes Founders Cry”) and it’s all about the power of building resilience into others. Colonna is the yogi/Yoda of this stuff. He’s regarded as a top executive coach and for good reason. He’s a master of helping people stand strong in the face of adversity:
Taken together, it has left him resilient. That’s what Colonna aims for in his coaching. Sure, he’d like the entrepreneurs with whom he works to kill it at their jobs. He’d like them to be happier, because who doesn’t want to be happier? But really, he wants everyone to figure out what he has figured out the very hard way: “Life sucks and it’s okay. Life is great, and it’s okay. Life goes up and it’s okay; life goes down and it’s okay,” he says. “If we can instill a sense of resilience in people, we mitigate suffering.”
The idea of “knowing what we are doing” is simply knowing there’s a baseline to return to. Things suck, and it’s okay. Things are great, and it’s okay. It won’t all go as planned, but that in and of itself is part of the plan, and it’s okay.
The goal isn’t to have a perfect picture of the future or master some form of sheer dominance over reality. The goal is to find a way to exist, to be okay with whatever happens next. Don’t blow up. Don’t run too hot and redline. Don’t panic. It may not sound like the type of wild success that so many seem to want, but it is a prerequisite to obtaining any level of success that will stick.
The right strategy is the one we can stick to. True value comes from processes that remind us we’re resilient, so build resilience. Suffer less. It’s all okay, even when it feels like it’s not.
More on/from Colonna here.