Over a decade ago, a company executive I admired loaned me his copy of the book “Who Moved My Cheese?”, without any explanation as to why. For those who are unfamiliar with it, the book is about two mice and two humans who live in a maze and daily partake of cheese that is placed at one end. One day someone moves their cheese, and the parable describes the various reactions and adjustments (or in some cases, non-adjustments) they make to the situation. It’s about the reality of change in one’s life, particularly at work, but I relate it to all aspects of life, and the importance of adjusting how we face it.
The book was a godsend for me at the time, and I highly recommend it. It helped me realize the answer to some frustrations I was experiencing within my career and, frankly, life itself. The principles are ones that I ascribe to every day, and they help me to channel the ability I have within myself to not only adjust to changing circumstances, but more importantly proactively seek out new opportunities and reward myself. In effect, to move my own cheese.
Readers may know that around this time every year I try to take stock of where I am in my life and determine the What’s Next. Am I on a plateau, or in the valley? Is the peak attainable? Who is in the drivers seat in my circumstance, and am I okwith that? What would happen if I shortened the wick? Can I remove just one more brick from this wall? Should I move the landing ramp back another 15ft and add a couple more school buses (think about that one)? I used to think of myself as a fixer, a problem solver, but that’s too limiting. What I am is an adventure seeker; I’m always eyeing the various zeniths in my life and revising plans to conquer them. And when I reach that peak, not just planting my flag and pitching a tent, but looking out over the horizon for the next mountain to conquer.
And so, that’s where I am today. I’ve decided to pick up my block of cheese and toss it a hundred yards further and challenge myself to find it. There’s a mix of emotions in doing so, as change sometimes involves risks. But the anticipation I have to discover more about myself is palpable. Adventure awaits, the game is on.