By Joan Marques
ďIt takes long to see that the light
you are seeking is in your own lantern.
Your rice has already been cooked.Ē
The above-posted statement was conveyed
to me by one of my three local
mentors on a meeting I had with all
three of them the other day. No, it was
not about kitchen recipes or energy providers. It was about life. The mentor
who expressed this statement -- some call him ďSatĒ -- told me he had come
to know this statement as an old Eastern proverb. That may explain the rice
in it, he added wittily.
So how did this topic come about anyway? Well, finding myself on crossroads
once again, I felt the need for some direction regarding the way I needed to
continue my stroll through professional life. I recalled Tom Petersí counsel
about updating your Rolodex and keeping in touch with your mentors for
guidance at critical times, and I started working on it.
The meeting with my mentors was an interesting one. I presented my latest
project, a spirituality-at-work related e-zine that I had just developed,
and received the feedback that I solicited. Oh yes, the comments were very
positive. However, in these turbulent times where lay-offs are more rule
than exception, and where insecurity seems to be more of a steady state of
mind than a sporadic occurrence, every advice, no matter how positively and
eloquently given, seems too far away in the future for implementation. These
are the times when the only thing that counts is immediate action. Or at
least, thatís how you feel about it when panic starts ruling you.
And then, around the corner, comes this mentor with his heartening
proclamation that itís no use losing sleep over too many issues at the same
time. ďSatĒ said to me, ďThere are only so many issues one can lose sleep
over, you know. One should do everything in his or her power to get ahead.
And no stone should be left unturned. But after youíve done everything, you
have to relax and wait.Ē
A pretty tough one to execute, I know. And I still feel that I should be
running every time I try to sit back and catch my breath. But Sat is right.
So, letís try to summarize here what I learned from my meeting with the
mentors. You never know if one or more of these advises might hit home for
you in your current life stage.
∑ Itís good to stay in touch with the people that enrich your spirit.
Everyone knows someone that inspires him or her. So do you, right? Contact
that person, even if only a few times a year. But keep the communication
∑ In times of crisis, but actually even more in times when things seem
smooth, you should stay alert and continue to practice all your outstanding
skills. Multi-applicability is what sells best these days.
∑ Never discard an idea you have. You may not find a suitable application
for it now, but you never know when it can become practical!
∑ Perceive every career slap in your face as a lesson you have to learn on
your way to top professionalism. The hurdles you meet will enable you to
later instruct others how to avoid or manage them.
∑ Accept a kind hand reached out to you. That hand usually belongs to
someone who once accepted another helping hand as well!
∑ Donít give up trying, but donít stress too much over anything either. The
art is to stay in control of the situation, even if you donít know where you
will be next week or next month. No one knows that anyway. Not even the ones
in the most secure positions!
It is especially this last message that ties in excellently with Satís
Eastern citation. Whether you believe in predestination or not, things will
happen to you when, how, and where they are supposed to. As long as you
refrain yourself from becoming apathetic and letting everything slide you
by, you will end up all right.
The biggest source of power and wisdom resides in yourself, and it is this
wisdom within you that will lead you to where you belong. It just takes long
to see that the light you are seeking is in your own lantern. But your rice
has already been cooked.