Lion King Circle of Life Applies to Your Career

In 1964, Disney’s Mary Poppins was nominated for an academy award and Julie Andrews won Best Actress. People went in droves to see the enchanted story line and animation. (My goodness, real actors could interact with cartoons!) It was a huge success for Disney’s animation business.

I remember how drastically things changed only a decade and a half later. In 1977, no self respecting teen or adult would be caught dead watching an animated flick. We were too busy fighting the crowds to watch John Travolta’s transition from Vinnie Barbarino to Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever and reserved the cartoons for out with a young son, daughter, nephew or grandkid.

It all changed with Disney’s release of the Little Mermaid followed later by Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. It was hip again for teens and adults to see animated films. We had to wait until The Lion King for Elton John’s Circle of Life song, but the cyclical nature of Disney’s business was blatantly clear.

Performing at ultra high success levels year after year is difficult and may I suggest even impossible. It’s just not the way the world is wired.

Take the fall, rise and fall again of technology from the ‘80s to the ‘90’s to early 2000s. What happened in the housing and construction business over the past decade? Up and down, up and down.

Winter, goes into Spring, Summer and then Fall. Some hurricane season’s are busy others slow. Unemployment rates go up and down. Why even the Byrds got it right in “Turn! Turn! Turn! To Everything There Is a Season.” And those lyrics were just a cyclical repetition of Solomon’s poems from Jewish Scripture in ancient times telling us “there’s a time for every purpose under heaven.”

Well I’ve seen a few of these cycles myself and have some news to deliver:

Wake up! Life runs in cycles.

Sometimes you make money. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you have work. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you like your job and sometimes the idea of stabbing razor blades under your fingernails sounds more pleasant that going to work.

So here’s my set of tips for dealing with this inevitable nature ebb and flow of life, relationships and business.

Tactic #1: Run your career as if the economy was going to die this very day.

I’m hoping our current recovery only continues, but I’ve also heard reports that we’re likely to see some dips along the way. One piece of advice, one piece of advice, one piece of advice. At the risk of sounding like a broken record to those of us that remember vinyl records,

Never Stop Networking!!!!!

Keep your network of contacts alive as if the very next day your job was likely to get cut. This networking isn’t only for your next job. It’s likely to increase you value in your current job. You’re increasing the number of people that can serve as resources to your current employer or venture.

Tactic #2: Put a little stash of money aside.

I’m not a money management expert, but you have to stash away several months worth of income. because **it happens. Even with the best of planning, the cyclical nature of everything will lead to the unexpected and having the ability to stay afloat is important.

BTW, so many job hunters tell me they are completely panicked watching their retirement savings dwindle. To them I say, count your blessings. Having retirement money available so you don’t have to face foreclosures, credit issues and who knows what else is a good thing not a bad one.

Tactic #3: Stay current on issues OUTSIDE your immediate industry.

Many of us start a job and put on blinders. Blinders were made to keep horses from looking side to side. Good for horses, bad for people. You never know what opportunity’s going to pop up. You have to keep looking around. Some people swear they need complete focus on their current job to be at their best. I challenge that by saying, “Chilling out and exploring topics and alternatives outside work makes you a better overall person and worker.” It enables you to bring a broader perspective to your set of responsibilities and is likely to boost your performance. (I could be wrong here, but I doubt it.)

Tactic #4: Exercise

This may not be one you expected here, but hear me out. Our weight and our fitness levels go up and down. Not a week goes by that I don’t see someone who’s either gone up or down in weight enough for me to notice. If it goes down, I make a point to encourage them. If it goes up I shut up and make a point not to pass them dessert.

Exercise clears the mind and helps to increase our self-awareness. That helps us stay focused on the less than immediate and gain perspective on the longer-term possibly more cyclical nature of things.

And these can all help us take the waves of these cycles calmly as if in a boat. This is much better than taking them as if we were standing on the beach and having them crash down upon us.

Consider these options for yourself and share with the rest of us what you think and what impact this has had on your life.

Hope this helps.

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