If you are of a certain vintage, you will recognise this line from the classic TV series “Mission Impossible”. It was part of the opening sequence, when that week’s mission would be explained. What happened next would be incomprehensible to today’s digital natives as the voice from the small reel-to-reel tape player intoned “this tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds” and smoke would duly pour out of the machine. As an enthralled 10 year old, I though this was amazing. (you can see it for yourself here. Cool, huh?)
Jim, the team leader, always accepted the mission, of course. Then the action could begin, and the story could unfold.
As a post-executive, your mission is to re-invent yourself.
Like the show, you don’t know the story in advance, you don’t know how it will work out, but you have to accept your mission before it can begin.
I know this sounds really obvious. It is. It’s just that what’s obvious is not always easy.
I wasn’t very good at this. I didn’t accept the mission. I thought I had but really I was hoping something would come along that was like the world I used to know. A nice consultancy contract. A job, maybe something interim or a short-term contract. Maybe, even, another full-time role. So I could go back to the comfort of what I had known, back to the certainty (well, the perception of certainty).
The trouble was, there wasn’t a way back. So I was stuck. For a long time.
This story, the one you have the starring role in, has three acts. Next is the perilous journey and revelation of wisdom, and the final part is redemption, the new beginning. You probably recognise this, it’s the structure of the hero’s journey, amongst other things. Before we get ahead of ourselves, however, you have to commit to the quest so we can finish the first act. You have to choose to accept the mission.
Your story starts here.
This blog will self-destruct in 5 seconds …