I received an email from a friend today. The contents of the email was this:
And this was my reply:
I have been in meetings like this. I’ve listened to meetings like this. This very day, I received a call from a guy who was baffled by the simple request of being able to send email. At first I was annoyed that he called, since he reached me on my Blackberry. But he had been referred by someone else, and within a few words it was clear he had only the merest direction on where to start.
The adventurer knows where he or she wants to go. An adventurer’s path is fairly clear. Whether its sailing a boat from Santa Monica to Honolulu, or climbing Mt. McKinley, the adventurer knows the skills and equipment needed to make the attempt. Whether they actually do is a matter of desire and preparation.
The dreamer thinks of things and deeds that may not have been accomplished yet. They have concepts and ideas that might be feasible, but they have no plan on how to make them happen.
The engineer has the training to know how to use the equipment. He or she has the specifications on the journey to be undertaken: the height of the mountain, the temperature of the air, breadth of the sea, weather conditions. He or she has the data on successful attempts versus unsuccessful. And if they look at you and deem you incapable of the task, they’ll tell you not to even try. If you’re a dreamer, they’ll deride you for your lack of knowledge. If you’re an adventurer, they’ll deride you for your lack of experience.
And sometimes, they’ll be right. Sometimes, they’ll be wrong. The outcome is actually very easy to determine.
Dirty Harry once opined “A man’s got to know his limitations.” The guy I was talking with was good. He shared his screen, navigated to the sites he’d need to complete his task, took notes, asked questions. He was given a job by a bunch of dreamers and took an adventurer’s approach to trying to get the job done. When I ended the call with him I had no doubt he’d be in good shape to face the engineers and make his project successful.