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The Da Vinci Conundrum

Posted by Ken Klaus on September 18, 2009

Da Vinci Flying Screw

Leonardo Da Vinci was a very gifted man to say the least.  He was an accomplished painter, sculpture, engineer, architect, mathematician, musician, inventor, and, if you believe Dan Brown, a keeper of really big secrets.  And I can’t help but wonder if Leonardo awoke each day and agonized over how to spend his time: “Should I finish the Mono Lisa, get Peter added to The Last Supper, finish the designs for that flying screw thingy, continue working on the four armed – four legged man sketch (Note to self: I need to come up with a better name for this drawing), or maybe just work on my journals – so much to do, so little time.”

Few of us are as gifted as Leonardo, but most of us have excelled in at least one or two areas.  And chances are many of us have also found a way to incorporate our interests and skill set into the work we do.  If you have, then my guess is you’re also getting pretty high marks on your performance evaluations, because a high level of engagement coupled with the right skill set is the perfect recipe for success.  So if you’re like me, and not like Da Vinci, chances are your skill set is pretty narrow; which means your ability to be successful will be limited to one or maybe two areas of expertise.   Unfortunately this situation leaves many of us with a conundrum: how do we remain successful in our chosen vocation (success = engagement + the application of the right skill set) without succumbing to the mind numbing boredom that so often comes after years or even decades in the same role?  For some the answer to this puzzle will be to advance to a new role, adapting their current competencies or learning additional skills which will help them succeed in their new jobs.  But for others, who may not want or be ready to change roles, remaining focused and engaged can be a real challenge. 

Though the solution to this problem will differ from person to person and even from job to job, one fact remains constant: engagement is a choice.  We must choose to be focused, motivated, optimistic, and plugged-in.  When we’re feeling tired or beaten down, when we want to retreat and hideaway, we have to summon the courage to connect with others and challenge ourselves to move beyond what we are feeling.  We have to go on the offensive and not give in to frustration, boredom, or despair.  Often this will require some creative thinking on our part.  We might have to look beyond the boundaries of our job description and engage in tasks that will renew our focus and top-up our engagement.  We could join a blog – as a reader, responder, or better yet, an author.  Or grow our professional network by joining an on-line group, attending a conference, or simply finding others outside our organization that have a similar job function.  We could also mentor a new employee or informally advise a colleague from another department wanting to make a change.  Our choices are limited only by our imagine and our determination.  So if you’re feeling tired, unmotivated, or just plain bored it’s time to go on the offensive and take action.  The truth is I’ve been feeling a little defensive myself lately; but I’m already starting to feel better.  Cheers!

6 Responses to “The Da Vinci Conundrum”

  1. Amy Wilson said

    Great suggestions for renewing one’s energy, Ken!

    Also, I love your Da Vinci descriptions!

    🙂 Amy

  2. Meg Bear said

    As always Ken you are so inspiring to me. It is so interesting how quick we are to want someone else to be responsible for our engagement. Thanks for reminding me that it’s my choice and my responsibility to keep my head in the game.


  3. Louise Barnfield said

    Thanks Ken! You’re absolutely right, and I feel energized by your suggestions!

  4. […] Ken Klaus of Talent Apps grabbed my attention offering expert advice on engagement and choice with The Da Vinci Conundrum. […]

  5. […] Carnival of HR. This carnival highlights Talent Management and includes our own Ken Klaus’ post on engagement and […]

  6. […] Comments Check out the Carniv… on The Da Vinci ConundrumAmy Wilson on You Might Learn Something from…What’s in it f… on Creating a […]

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