…because some thoughts are worth remembering
When I first started working for the State of Hawaii government, a cabinet member shared with me his thoughts : that 1) it would probably be quite frustrating for an entrepreneur, as the transition from the private to the public sector is usually challenging, and 2) I should view it as a study of the human kind, as a sociologist, or with even more distant perspective of an anthropologist trying to decipher what this brand of civilization was about.
Both parts rang true, though in reflecting back, I had some thoughts to add to the above. 1) I realized that if you wanted to be effective in government, you had to be more entrepreneurial than you are in the private sector, so while it was frustrating, I was also well prepared. 2) Recognizing the same kind of mix, between playing “tourist” (who goes to see what she wants) and being a “traveler” (who goes to experience what there is) that make that make a good trip, also created a better experience as a public servant. It’s important to have specific things you want to accomplish (see the Eiffel Tower or build a tech park), but also to be on a look out for experiences and opportunities that you hadn’t planned for, which could enrich your life or career. It is often the case that if you are prepared to embrace these opportunities, you can end up accomplishing the same goal but in an unexpected way (e.g., taking the wrong metro line and ending up in a park that happened to have a great view of the Eiffel Tower rather than being at the Tower, or facilitating a public-private partnership that eventually led to innovation projects, which was the purpose for building a tech park in the first place).
We decide to go on a trip as a tourist, with a list of things we want to do and see, but when we get there, we need to strike a good balance of having the original goals and being open to what the situation offers you, as a traveler.
It’s a lesson I’m familiar with for traveling that I need to remind myself when I am not on vacation, because after all, if we can’t enjoy life as a journey, what good is it?
Photo: Sculpture honoring Johannes Brahms in Hamburg, Germany. I didn’t realize Brahms was born in Hamburg until we came across his museum. We spent the rest of the afternoon tracking various points of interest relevant to Brahms.