This past weekend I saw George Clooney in “The American.” Typical, hit man hiding out movie. Clooney makes it pretty good I suppose, but we’ve seen it before. Something vaguely philosophical struck me about it though. Clooney’s character is hiding out in this little French town waiting for some bad guys to come looking for him (which of course they do) and he spends a great deal of time peering around corners. You’ve never seen a town with more corners by the way. It seemed fairly obvious that if he went running around the corners he’d get shot, so he crept and peered and alternated with lots of peeks over his shoulder.
It strikes me, that’s what we do all the time when it comes to our lives and careers. We creep, we peer, we peek as if when we round that corner we’ll get cut down in a hail of gun fire. Most likely we won’t but that little voice inside says “ya never know!”
We encounter corners in life all the time. Right now, Adrienne and I are struggling with being empty nesters. Our youngest just moved 3000 miles away to go to school in New York, and well, here we are looking at each other asking “what now?” As we turn this corner what will it mean?
Should we sell the big house now? It’s really not a good time but we could. It’s just two of us wandering around in this place yelling to each other from end to end. What moves could I, should I make in business? I’m not rushing out of work at odd times to the kids games and recitals anymore. I could use the extra brain power to expand and at the same time be more efficient.
Here’s what really strikes me though: not so much the big corners that we face, like the ones that I’ve been talking about, but the small corners that we avoid everyday. What if I really let my feelings be known? Will that create a big corner? What if I take a small business risk? Will that turn into a big one?
I’m beginning to believe that avoiding the small corners in daily life leads to great unavoidable big ones where the stakes get higher. Ones with hails of gun fire. Avoidance really is the enemy here. As in: don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today, for in one way or another avoided issues or tasks tend to grow into situations where our ability to control them evaporates.
So make the one call, send out the one promo piece, write out your goals for the next year. Educate yourself by doing a little research on what practice could get you to the next level. You can peer around the corner, sure, but then go forward. Make your move even as the bullets ricochet off the pavement. Oh, and you’re right, there are only more corners ahead. That’s life. But, if you handle those small corners one at a time as they come, perhaps those big ones won’t seem so ominous and paralyzing.
And trust me, no matter how many corners you face, there won’t be as many as George faced in that freaky little town. It was ridiculous, the corners had corners, and then those corners had corners too.
- “George Clooney in “The American”” and related posts (newyorklawschool.typepad.com)