Thursday, April 14, 2011

So, I'm On an Elevator

Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of visiting with Larry Clark, dean of the Cameron School of Business at UNC-Wilmington.

I'm exploring the idea of pursuing a Ph.D. and am in the fact-finding stage. Larry was kind enough to meet with me and offer his thoughts.

The most important idea came early in the meeting. Larry asked, "Let's say it's five years from now and you have your Ph.D. and we meet in an elevator and I ask you,'What are you doing now?' What are you going to tell me?"

He added that the answer to my question would guide me in what I needed to do in order to arrive at my destination.

I immediately thought that the elevator ride is a great metaphor for life. You're riding up and down and it stops at a variety of floors. Seldom does it go directly to the floor you want. When the doors open you get to see what's on other floors. Sometimes it looks attractive, sometimes not. Sometimes you hop off on a floor and regret it when the doors close behind you. Other times you're happy with the surprises you encounter.

But, if you don't get on the right elevator or you aren't telling the operator which floor you want to get off on it's just an exercise in riding up and down.

Lots of us either didn't get on the right elevator or we have changed our minds about which floor we want to get off on (or life has changed our minds for us). So, it might be time to change elevators or talk to the operator.

If you can describe a realistic destination, what's on the floor you want to get off on, you can start figuring out which elevator to get on and which buttons to push.

What about you? If I meet you in an elevator in five years and ask.......