A lot of us don’t like chaos in our lives. I mean, I don’t. I don’t love uncertainty, and I don’t love stress. I like to be able to focus on a problem and work it, not be constantly jolted in a new direction by a set of ever-changing circumstances and requirements. Ugh. But… I have to say, embracing chaos on rare occasions can be life-changing in the most positive ways imaginable.
Most major career accelerations happen when someone steps into a chaotic situation and makes a positive contribution. If you can put up with the chaos for a little bit… kind of “lean into it,” as it were, then you’ve a chance to stem the tide and create some order. If you’re the type of person who can do that, then you’re going to find opportunities in front of you.
I knew a guy in the Las Vegas restaurant industry. He was what’s known as an “opener.” There aren’t many of those, even in Vegas where we’re opening new restaurants every fifteen minutes. But when you opened one, you tried to get this guy on your team.
He embraced the absolute chaos that is a restaurant opening. He’d staff it up (often bringing in people who’d followed him from job to job for years because they too liked the opportunities chaos created). He’d shepherd the chef through the menu creation. He’d establish vendor relationships. He’d coordinate the opening. He’d guide the restaurant through its first year, or maybe two… and then he’d move on.
This guy got paid nuts money, because he was The Best. And when he “moved on,” it usually meant not working for six months or so, and just traveling with his family. That was his success, and it aligned with his family’s personal values. Different strokes for different folks, right?
So don’t always step away from chaos when it comes your way. Consider whether or not your success would be best served by stepping in and making a difference.