It is said that when you come to the end of your rope, you should tie a knot and hang on.
My response to this piece of advice is this: “Why? Why not get a new rope?”
After all, there is a reason the rope is played out and you have none of it left. How did you get to the end of it, and what begins at the point where it ends? What’s out there in the vastness that lies just beyond those frayed strands of hemp?
A new rope will be strong, pliable, and more trustworthy than that old knotty thing you’re hanging onto. It might also be longer, and you can go further with it than with what you have in your hands.
For businesses, organizations and individuals facing down-turns, changing markets and uncertain futures, the end of the rope is an immediate reality. When doing what you’ve been doing is not working, getting another rope becomes necessary.
New ropes are needed when:
- The economy tanks and you lose enough income that you have to seriously consider bankruptcy;
- You have run the course of your existing purpose and there’s no next step or level to move toward;
- You’re marketing in 2016 as if it’s 2006;
- You’re required to retire but you don’t believe in retirement;
- You’re at retirement age and want to retire but have no means of support;
- A trusted employee steals from you and starts a competing business;
- You find yourself in a new situation and you feel out of place, alone and unsure;
- Your spouse or partner is no longer able to maintain their part in the relationship;
- You run out of passion for what you’re doing for a living and it’s become only a means to pay your bills;
- Everything that used to work in running your business is no longer working;
- You discover (finally) what your passion is, after having tried out so many vocations.
Each of these scenarios describes people I know professionally or personally. Some are hanging on and trying to tie knots. Others are finding new ropes.
Getting another rope is re-invention. It’s not adding new features or services in order to keep up with your competitors. It’s not complaining about the current state of things or placing blame. It’s an entire re-thinking or re-tooling of purpose and strategy. In short, it is a re-branding, a total make-over.
Getting a new rope is re-definition. There are new methods to embrace, new directions to explore and new customers to court. You’re not simply keeping up, you’re taking the lead.
Getting a new rope is refreshing. Newness is full of promise and anticipation. We get to start over, and we feel encouraged and vital again.
Getting a new rope is a courageous act. You’re daring to imagine a new life for yourself when you have no clue how it’s going to turn out. You’re willing to let go of your current identity and expectations, and eschew worry about what others will think. You’re willing to build new relationships, ask for help, learn new skills and acquire a new mindset. Above all, you dare to believe you’re going to be okay.
Getting a new rope is a creative act. You have to imagine something that doesn’t exist yet in your circumstances or that’s not fully formed in your thinking. You get to look at things differently and design a new strategy. You get to invent new solutions to old problems. You get to change and be willing to be uncomfortable in that process.
Getting a new rope is a confirming act. You reach out to take hold, and, in the reaching, discover that the new rope is sturdy and the risk you took to reach for it is rewarded with a new sense of security and freedom.
What rope are you at the end of? What are you doing about it?