[Warning: The following blog post may contain physics. Weak minds you have been warned]
Last month I sat down with the owner of a multi-million dollar company. He’s one of our clients and his story is one of amazing success. After coming to the country with $18 in his pocket, he went to work, bootstrapped his own business, created a whole new industry and now owns several multi-million dollar companies. Without getting into specifics of what he does, a large portion of his business has to do with creating and utilizing vacuums [the tube kind, not the home appliance].
As we finished up talking shop, the conversation transitioned away from business & on towards life. As he mulled over his life, he mentioned that one of the greatest life lessons he learned from his business, was how vacuums work. This is that idea:
What is a Vacuum?
There’s a lot to say about vacuums but the readers digest version is a “vacuum is a volume of space that is essentially empty of matter, such that its gaseous pressure is much less than atmospheric pressure”. The word vacuum actually comes from the Latin term for “empty.” [Thanks Wikipedia!] In order for a vacuum to exist the “volume of space” needs to be empty. The more “empty” a vacuum is, the more effective it is and the better it works.
A Real Life Example
Life and business are a lot like a vacuum. Say you’re a business owner with an under-performing employee. It’s a consistent issue that hasn’t changed. If you have an employee that’s under-performing it’s your duty to let him go. Chances are you’re holding on to him because you think he’s the best you could find and you’re waiting until you find someone better. After all, if you let him go, who would do his job? Chances are he’s under-performing because he doesn’t like his job and he’s waiting to find something better. After all, if he quit, who would pay the bills?
Instead of actually going after something better, you’re both doing nothing and settling for mediocre. [This is where the vacuum comes in].
The Law of the Vacuum
You won’t find a better employee until you get rid of the bad one. You have to create a vacuum. It’s your job to let the employee go, because it’s not only good for your company, but good for the employee. By letting him go, you put an immediate stop to the mediocrity standstill and you create a vacuum. The employee is now freed from the job he hates and can find a job that he enjoys and you’re freed from an under-performing employee. You’re going to find a new employee that likes his job because you have to in order to keep moving along in business. Your former employee is going to find a new job, because he has to. The vacuum takes the continuous stream of mediocrity, turns it on it’s head and sets things spinning. It forces you to find a better employee, and forces your ex-employee to find a job that better fits him. By creating a vacuum, you’re creating the space needed in order for something better to happen.
How To Create A Vacuum
Stop holding on to the mediocre and find something better. Create space in order to allow new opportunities to come your way.
Take a risk.
Try something new.
Go out on a limb
Create a vacuum
Put another way, you can’t catch anything if your hands are already full. You have to let balls go.
Sometimes your safeguards, backups and contigency plans are your safety net, but sometimes they’re holding you back. The vacuum only works when it’s empty. If you don’t create that space, you’ll never be open to new opportunities.
Quit mediocrity. Create a vacuum. See what happens.
What do you think? Is the law of the vacuum a reality or just a convenient coincidence?
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