Saturday, May 19, 2012

Difference between Lifting and Holding

The man sits on a tall chair. A pure white cat on his lap. His jeweled fingers gently strokes the cat and he says " I love you man"... The crowd roars its approval. Once again, Ceelo Green has the "The Voice" audience eating out of his hands. Almost a caricature of himself, the "Lady Killer" hides the "Singer-writer-producers-entertainment personality -actor- entrepreneur- mentor" that he really is. I was absolutely fascinated by his persona and the way he chose the right words to create the right impact in all situations.

Over the weekend, I was catching up with my reading and was struck by one of the quotes associated to him "There is a difference between lifting something up and holding something up. There is two different degrees of strength" (Article in Fast Company).

That was profound and something which I experienced very early in my professional life. It was my first start up  - A young "hip" company in Bangalore creating a stir among the young employees by introducing free beer during TGIF (Thank god it is Friday). I was the fifth person to join the company (After a very interesting interview process) and when I left it 12 months later there were 162 of us and the company was doing great. As I was leaving my mentor and the CEO of the company told me that there were some people who are good at starting things and some good at maintaining things. He said I belonged to the former group and wished me the very best. (He was and is one of the best mentors I ever had. Absolutely brilliant !)

Year went by and I slowly realized that he was right. I have this passion to build stuff, solve new problems, do things which people think are "undoable". But as soon as the heavy lifting was over, I started getting restless and wanted a change of pace. So when I was reading Ceelo Green words, I was reminded again of that day. Even though it was hard to take it (Being told that you were not good at something), I now realize he was actually pointing to my strength ! Two more start ups later, his words resonate...

What kind of person are you? The builder or the sustainer? Let me know...

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