Greg Hawks used an analogy of whitewater rapids to demonstrate to more than 70 people Thursday how they are like your workplace: things just keep flowing with or without you.
Hawks was the keynote speaker of a seminar and luncheon entitled “Navigating Workplace Rapids,” at Western Oklahoma State College as part of a WOSC Foundation and Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education grant and a partnership with the Altus Chamber of Commerce.
After explaining how rapids are rated from I to VI, or from safe, slow-moving water with very few ripples to nearly impossible to navigate and very dangerous and life-threatening, he asked participants to rate their work situation.
Then he asked, what makes rapids? Pressure and obstacles, he said.
He applied the analogy to work situations of pressure and obstacles which he then sub-divided into external and internal categories.
Hawks classified external pressures in work situations as duties, details and deadlines. He got chuckles from the crowd when he mentioned someone who must have always worked better under deadline pressure because he never saw him work when he wasn’t on deadline.
Then he highlighted internal pressure that he classified as stress, worry and fear.
He suggested you quit worrying about things that are out of your control and realize that fear about something in the future that could affect you takes hold of your imagination and creates pressures.
When he moved to obstacles using the rapids analogy, he listed them as things that get in your way and slow you down as you navigate from one point to another. For external obstacles, he listed people, resources and structure. He spent a little time talking about time, which comes under the category of resources.
He said some people talk about time management. “Time doesn’t need management, people do,” he said.
And when he focused on internal obstacles, Hawks talked about insecurity, indecision and integrity.
Hawks failed to mention ways to relieve internal and external pressure and obstacles. But by the end, he pointed out that when people are pushed to do things out of their comfort zones, such as floating on a sequence of higher rated rapids, they often overcome obstacles, feel more confident and become an inspiration for others.
He closed by having everyone to shout together, “I love obstacles.”