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Your personal brand: Dragonfly

It is summer in Florida which means hot and hotter, interspersed with some hefty showers. We’re used to this, we know the drill: air conditioning in good working order, dress in layers, travel with liquids, an umbrella, and maybe a change of shirt just in case. We plan our short trips around traffic and showers; we fight for shady parking spots, go to the beach in the morning and spend rainy days catching up on old movies.

Dragonflies can change
Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Winter is so lovely for so long, we really don’t mind it, just don’t make us eat dinner outdoors. We love our pools and our screened enclosures where most of the nasty insects cannot invade us. It was last Saturday when the thought appeared to me all in a flash. There it was, the poor dragonfly trapped in the screened enclosure. Now nothing could really happen to the creature, it can drink rain water and pool water and catch a few tiny bugs, but it’s not free to go coursing around with the other dragonflies as it might normally do. So it goes to the very top of the enclosure and beats its wings in a vain effort to get free. I shrug my shoulders and go in for a leisurely swim. After some mild exercise, I take to sitting on a floating device relaxing after a hard week.

That’s when the dragonfly started swooping by, almost kamikaze-like, barely grazing me yet letting me know it was there. After doing this several times, I think, well maybe it wants to get out. So I open the door and leave it ajar. I get the long-armed pool net thinking I can use it to push the dragonfly towards the door. It swings around once, twice, three times, four times, but no luck. It gets no closer to the door, rather ascending to the top to beat its wings again. It rests for a while up there-maybe thinking what the next move is. It comes down again, swings by again, and there’s that door open, ready with the big world out there where it can rejoin its fellow dragonflies in their pursuits, but no, no luck: after five more tries, it’s still no closer to the door.

And that’s when it hits me then that we’re all dragonflies, caught in our little circle, swinging around the way we’ve always done, but no closer to the door, to freedom, to that new job or that new life. We won’t let go of the old patterns, thoughts, and ways of doing things. We fly up to the top of the enclosure and beat our wings furiously, but we can’t get out. We don’t imagine there’s another way out because we’re stuck in the same old drill. I’m sad for all of us, because we are better than that, we can solve this. The solution comes from disassociating yourself from the way you have always done it and looking for another way. This could be in your job search, or in the reality you create for yourself in the workplace with your colleagues. Get out of your rut and think differently. Don’t allow the past to dominate your strategy for the future dragonfly, go towards the door and find your freedom.

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