By Douglas Ross
Ground Hog Day is the story of a reporter caught in a time loop where he awakens every day to the morning of the day before. It is the comical story about being stuck in the same old story and getting unstuck. It mirrors parts of our life as we know it at work and at home.
Bill Murray portrays Phil, a man of little integrity and dubious character, who covers the story of ground hog day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He is caught in a repetitive pattern of life that he is not even aware of. Only because he awakens every day to the same day does it dawn on him that he is stuck in his own muck.
In business I see and hear the same thing. People in organizations will look at performance results and make comments like: if we don’t do anything different, then why do we expect anything different?
Leaders come and go but the fundamental problem remains the same. Many employees will confide that “they just don’t get it”. I am not sure who “they” are or what “it” is, but we may conclude that “they is us” and we like Bill Murray just don’t get the idea that the organization is stuck in its own muck.
In life, I see and hear people, especially in relationships and in jobs, recreate the same old story over and over again. Even when they experience a real world failure of job loss or relationship breakdown, the new job or a new relationship simply becomes another vice grip of old patterns of behavior and broken dreams. Nothing really changes and everything quickly becomes the same old, same old.
Bill Murray discovered that if he did nothing different, then everything would be the same. Only when he realized that in order to change his world he had to change himself, did something different occur. Each day then began a new adventure of learning from his mistakes and building on his successes.
The world moves on whether we like it or not. We may want to believe that life will always be the way it is today but it is not. The world of 2000 is no longer here and the world of 2010 will be different but will you be the same?
You have a choice. And you have time. That choice is whether you allow circumstances to impose their shadow on you or whether you want to see those circumstances in a different way.
“Everyone has problems; everyone suffers to different degrees at different time. The only way out is to be objective.”
This Buddhist saying points us to a fundamental truth; we either let the circumstances of our life control us or we choose to overcome those challenges that limit our happiness. In other words instead of letting the rain destroy the long awaited holiday, we simply enjoy the rain and continue enjoying our holiday with the rain. It is not that difficult.
Bill Murray behaved differently each day and he learned that people reacted differently. He saw a new world of possibilities open before him. He found purpose in love and he worked toward it. When he learned to truly help others, then he found the way to his own happiness. When that happened, the next day became the beginning of a new life.
Lest you believe this is a warm fuzzy story about people only, please stop. Organizations are designed to help people. That is their purpose. Money is only a feedback mechanism that demonstrates how well the organization meets its purpose. When organizations help people, people are allowed to pursue what they love. Organizations get caught in ruts and they too have choices.
Integrity is defined as wholeness, consistency and purity.
In our story about ground hog day, Bill Murray embraces parts of his character that were always part of him but never given the chance to emerge. By transforming himself, he transformed others and in so doing he became an everyday hero.
In business, organizations that embrace the diversity of their people through inclusion become catalysts for change throughout the world. They become successful at realizing their purpose and the results follow.
Consistency is the cumulative journey of lessons learned. It takes time and there is time in each day to do what needs to be done. There are no quick fixes. It is a process of improving people, systems and structures. There are no secrets here. Because it is the right thing to do, it starts with one person in the organization and grows to include everyone.
Purity is the process of becoming objective about your situation. It is about facing reality. So if you are saying” this is the same old story,” then you know that you are the same old story.
Once you face that reality, then you can change the way you react tomorrow and you will become the everyday hero we need in our communities, our organizations, and our families.
Want to learn more? Visit my web site at www.principledynamics.com or call me. I want to speak to you about integrity and how it can help you and all of us.