Toward the end of the Tom Hanks movie, Charlie Wilson’s War, a character relates this parable about a boy and his horse: There’s a young boy who gets a horse on his 14th birthday… and everybody in the village says, “how wonderful. The boy got a horse!” And the Zen master says, “we’ll see.” Two years later, the boy falls off the horse, breaks his leg, and everyone in the village says, “How terrible.” And the Zen master says, “we’ll see.” Then, a war breaks out and all the young men have to go off and fight… except the boy can’t go because his leg is still injured. And everybody in the village says, “How wonderful.” And the Zen master says, “we’ll see.”
I was reminded of this scene last month while talking to a set of recent graduates and taking in the situation they are currently facing in this economy. The combination of too few jobs and too many people willing to work below their skill level has resulted in a lack of opportunities these kids never pictured. And on the face of it, everyone is saying, “how terrible.” But I’m not so sure.
It brings me back to the circumstances surrounding my own graduation 25 years ago in Houston. At the time, Houston was in the midst of a regional recession on par with what the nation is now facing; few job prospects and tremendous competition. But in retrospect, I believe graduating in tough economic times was a blessing for me.
Any sense of entitlement I might have felt was immediately eliminated. It was clear then, as it is now, that nothing of value will be handed to you. Anything I was going to get would come from my own determination and effort. This is a lesson that has served me well over the years out in the world. It has kept me focused. It has kept me honest. In my opinion, creating your own opportunities is the fastest route to success and stability.
At VMBC, we believe that innovation is what will drive our success moving forward. We believe that utilizing new technologies to increase productivity and reduce the cost of administration is the path to competing and winning on a global basis. And we are planting the seeds for the next phase in our business cycle by focusing on our ability to drive this technical innovation.
We create new business opportunities by spending time listening to our clients, understanding the markets, and absorbing the historic development cycles, we are identifying and crafting new products and services. Products and services that allow us to remain relevant and unique in increasingly crowded waters.
We are continually increasing productivity by reassessing how we manage our resources, how we automate information systems, and how we invest in the tools that allow each VMBC team member to expand their own job description and scope of work. Thus, enabling us to put more time and money into growing our business and those of our clients.
Things might seem unfavorable right now, it might seem that forces are aligned against you and that the future is unimaginably bleak. But – whether you are a recent graduate or a creative enterprise – if you use this time to identify your own opportunities, carve your own path and create a unique value proposition, then… “we’ll see”. After all, the world is your oyster.