I know, it sounds a little far-fetched. How can something as simple as a sticky-note lead to success.
A good place to start is in a little known history. Spencer Silver, the inventor of the adhesive used on 3M’s Post-it NotesTM, first made a flop. That’s right, he was aiming for glue and got instead an adhesive that didn’t really stick! After all, the term “Adhesive” describes any non-metallic substance applied to one or both surfaces of two separate items that binds them together and resists their separation. Resists their separation. This is not exactly what sticky notes do — it is a temporary hold that can be removed and then stuck somewhere else, without leaving a trace. In the world of glue, this wasn’t a success story at all… until it was!
Cue another man named Art Fry who heard of this substance and put two and two together, realizing he could use the adhesive to hold papers down to the pages of his choir book to mark his spot. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Sometimes, when you work diligently in one direction, you find out you’ve been heading entirely to the wrong place for far too long. Being able to renegotiate that direction is a skill-set we all need to develop. But that doesn’t mean the work we’ve done has all been in vain.
There are many anecdotal stories of people who trudged away in the corporate world, “making the 6-figure dream”, for years, unhappy and unfulfilled in their endeavours, only to hear a podcast, or meet someone, or attend a conference, or simply to have an a-ha! moment and realize there are other options out there than the daily grind. Some of these people become business coaches, some of these people become carpenters, whatever the goal — they just knew that working 9-5+ in the corporate world was not for them!
I’m not knocking business, it has to happen and someone has to do it, or our social structure would collapse — but I am not a Business Coach, I am a Wholistic Life Mentor. I am here to help you figure out the next chapter of your life and see where you can take this wild ride! Sometimes that takes a realization that you are plugging away in the wrong direction. Not necessarily with your career, but maybe with your personal life, or with your side-gig, or your favourite social group. There are lots of ways we can dig ourselves in and feel stuck.
I use the 3M example to show you that sometimes what we get when we work hard in one direction is something completely unexpected — but that, too, can be a success.
Every time I see someone using sticky notes, whether in the office for reminders, or putting them on their mirror with affirmations, or marking the page in their choir book, what I think about is the story of the adhesive on the back, something that was meant to “resist separation” but instead leant itself for something entirely unexpected that became a ubiquitous success story. So when I use my own sticky notes, I realize that what I write on them may be temporary and moveable, just like I am, but also capable of leading me to greater tomorrows!
How will you see Post-it NotesTM from now on?