I have sat for hours on tropic eves scanning the skies for shooting stars.
Suddenly they appear, flares that burst out of the black and dance across the constellations, a momentary magic act whose brilliance explodes and dies in nanno seconds.
Like so much in life, you want to pin your hopes on them, but they are not interested in commitments of any kind. What’s more, you can’t pin your hopes on anything in life, but yourself. In marketing, in management, in business, we witness shooting stars of all kinds. They are the people who dazzle us with their brilliance–in whom we perceive all manner of endless possibilities and breakthroughs — but in the end we are left with little more than the disappointed thoughts of what might have been.
Pinning your hopes on yourself is another matter altogether. It leaves no room for heroes or heroines, gods or role models, saints or statesman. In recent years, we pinned our hopes on Bear Stearns, Alan Greenspan, the great American home, Bernie Madoff, the power of leverage, the mighty Citigroup.
All failed us– but not nearly as much as we failed ourselves. By pinning our hopes on others.
When you pin your hopes on yourself, you are down to the naked truth. You must perform. There is no one to hide behind. You have to think big, stumble over your vision, rise again, be resilient and come back thinking and acting even bigger than before. Reinvent yourself. Remake your company. Take new risks. Learn new skills. Face down your limitations and defeat them.
I have met exceptional people who have achieved something extraordinary, amassed great wealth, pinned their hopes on shooting stars, went broke, lost themselves in hibernation, disappeared from the scene, reinvested in themselves and returned for second acts that blew the first ones away.
We all face this roller coaster. In the past year, millions of careers have been derailed, companies ruined, fortunes lost. In most cases because the victims pinned their hopes on shooting stars.
We scan the horizon for answers but we are truly wise only when we learn and admit that what we must count on is ourselves.