This posting is part of a series on my book Sifting. If you have not read the previous postings, please visit the menu above (click on Sifting) for a chronological listing of any previous chapters. Thanks!
Sifting – Chapter 4
Bob’s View from the Top
At this particular moment, Bob seemed to be on top of the world. He was standing in the lavish executive conference room atop one of the tallest buildings on the California coast. While waiting to meet with the CEO of one of his largest clients, Bob glanced out the huge windows and saw mainly sunshine and blue skies. From this height, the panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean was stunning.
If he closed this one deal, he would make ten times the amount his dad struggled to make in a good year on the farm. And it was only Monday! Three similar meetings were lined up in as many cities before the end of the week. A lot of people put a lot of work into these proposals, but now it was up to Bob to close the deals. This was no longer about the team. Bob knew success was in his hands, and he was both excited and anxious about that.
Bob momentarily thought of the sacrifices he had endured to get to this point in his life. They all seemed worthwhile now. Then for a brief moment, he wondered why he used the phrase “seemed worthwhile.” As Executive Vice President of the U.S. subsidiary of a huge and highly profitable global organization, he would quickly correct any wavering subordinate who used a phrase such as “seemed worthwhile.” His sacrifices were worthwhile! Sacrifices were a normal and necessary part of making it to the top.
Gail Johnson knocked lightly on the conference room door and quietly entered.
“Excuse me, are you Mr. Rushing?”
“Yep, that’s me!”
“There’s a call for you on line two. You can use the phone on the credenza at the other end of the room if you’d…”
Bob interrupted Gail, grabbing his ringing cell phone. He held his right hand up, palm facing outward toward her. After a brief conversation with the caller, Bob put his hand over the phone’s mouthpiece, gestured impatiently toward Gail and whispered, “Not now. Find out who it is and tell them I’ll call them back later.”
Gail nodded and calmly whispered, “Yes, sir.”
Gail returned to the conference room in less than a minute and waited patiently until Bob finished his call.
“Mr. Rushing, I’m very sorry to interrupt you again. The person on line two says he is a Mr. Dawson calling from Europe and that it is extremely important that he talk with you immediately.”
Bob flinched. “Oh, okay – sure, I’ll take that call. Close the door on your way out.”
Gail quietly left.
Bob felt a little wave of anxiety. He took a deep breath, let it out slowly, cleared his mind, picked up the receiver and punched the second blinking light.
“Mr. Dawson, it is so nice to hear from you! How can I be of service to you on this fine day?”
The call took less than two minutes. Bob was stunned! He could not believe what had just happened! When he hung up the phone, his world was no longer the same!
End Chapter 4
Main takeaway: Soon, you will be more thoroughly introduced to a concept called the hero’s journey (also referred to as the monomyth) and you will learn more about an archetype (example of a person or thing) called the herald. For those of you unfamiliar with the hero’s journey, according to the Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler, the role of the herald is to “issue challenges and announce the coming of significant change.” This event, in turn, “shifts the hero’s balance, and nothing will ever be the same.” It appears that Mr. Dawson is serving as a herald for Bob. In most of your lives, heralds, in various forms (humans, experiences, obstacles, etc.), are often trying to communicate messages to you. You, of course, may or may not hear, or pay attention to, these messages. The ultimate consequences of these messages are significant in terms of the unfolding of your life whether you hear and pay attention to them or not.
- If you are making any significant sacrifices to make progress in your career, do you think they are all necessary and worthwhile sacrifices? I do not personally have a definite answer to this question; I am just suggesting that it is a reasonable question for you to consider.
- Do you think you are ignoring any herald’s messages in your life?
- What do you think Mr. Dawson said that changed Bob’s world so suddenly?
- I highly recommend that you at least learn the basics of the hero’s journey. It will serve you well in terms of making decisions to help you joyfully participate in life. Enter “hero’s journey” in an Internet search engine and you will find plenty of information on it. I suggest you begin learning about the hero’s journey by watching the video I mentioned in an earlier posting titled Finding Joe (see film trailer here) and then reading The Writer’s Journey by Vogler. These two resources should give you a good foundation to take advantage of the wisdom of the hero’s journey when making major life decisions. If you cannot find the time to explore these resources, there are plenty of interesting YouTube videos that can help you learn about the hero’s journey. We will also discuss the stages and archetypes of the journey in more detail in subsequent chapters.
The entire book will eventually be posted on this blog. However, if you want a copy for yourself, or as a gift for a friend, you can find it at this link: Sifting