In recent weeks I’ve been watching tadpoles in a small pool in a drying creekbed. The tadpoles are small but they tell a big story. The pool they’re in lies in a canyon surrounded by trees and grasses. It has been another dry year in San Diego, and the surrounding hills are already turning from green to brown. As the small creek stopped flowing, the pool started to shrink, slowly at first and then more rapidly. The tadpoles swimming among the algae may not have realized it, but they were in a race against time.
The tadpoles had to mature and grow legs quickly, before the pool went dry. Or else. Recently I saw that the pool had dwindled to a few inches deep, although the tadpoles were still quite young. I thought they might have time still, but when I came back a few days later the pool was dry already, reduced to a muddy depression. Based on the young state of the tadpoles when last I saw them I’m afraid they didn’t make it.
I felt a little for the tadpoles, and then found myself comparing them to our own situation. As the economy changes, old pools of opportunity have shrunken, leaving many businesses and workers high and dry, unable to move on it seems to find the new pools.
And yet, I realized there is an important difference. The tadpoles cannot do much about their situation. The water level is beyond their control, and they cannot will themselves to grow legs and hop out of there. We can. If our pool is drying up, we have the power to leap out and find the next pool, the next big opportunity. If we don’t have the legs to get up and go, then we can grow them, fast.
I’m not talking about real legs, of course, but metaphorical legs. The legs we need are the direction, innovation, drive and the power to make the decision to get moving in a new direction, to make the leap up out of our current situation with the faith that something better lies just ahead.
And the opportunities are out there. Despite our economic woes, there are plenty of opportunities still – they have just moved to new places. We have immense problems, but these problems in the midst of our crisis are also creating vast opportunities.
Green business opportunities are one example I’ve written a lot about, and the opportunities in the conserver economy to help people save more, waste less, and think of the long term.
If you see that your pool is drying up, don’t wait for the water to be completely gone before you get moving. It’s better to leap on your own terms before the water is all gone. If you’re not sure where or how to leap, then its time to grow some legs. Read up, talk to people, and lay out a plan to make a change. Evaluate what you have to offer and get out and sell it. Look at things differently, seeing the problems as opportunities, and take control. Then make the leap.
See you in the next pool.