CareerSherpas: Climbing the Mountain

When you’re on the way, it helps to share the load

The Hero’s Journey – The Union of Opposites

The world is full of paradoxes and divisions if we choose to see it that way. More often than not these are fabricated divisions growing out of fear and ignorance which aren’t necessarily real, but are taken as accepted truths.

In the progression of legendary journeys the “Union of Opposites” often revolves around reconciling the differences between the sexes or between some conflicting parts of the heroine’s personality. We see similar dualities overcome by bringing together different cultures to share and understand one another. Around the world we’re faced with news of the disharmonies between western and arabic cultures, racial inequalities and backlashes against immigrant populations.

In organizations we see silos built up to separate groups who are both intertwined and interdependent for success. Functional areas who jointly support large, value-driving processes often don’t communicate enough to see how the different parts interact. Pain in one group is diminished in the face of the easier solution in another.

More important to your career is the internal struggle to reconcile opposing perspectives. Open your eyes to the way different pieces integrate into a cohesive whole. The small changes made in one place can create large variations for someone else and realizing this lets you negotiate successful outcomes for everyone.

The objective is not to see the world in black and white or good and bad. Bringing together the different thoughts on your own is usually impossible. Reach out and find someone who sees the situation differently and really listen to what they have to say.

What you’ll probably find is that the “bad” responses and interactions are actually “good” for someone else. Find ways to bridge the gap and find ways to make both sides “good”. You’ll quickly find allies on the “other” side who are interested in solving issues for everyone. The successes that come from those solutions let everyone join in the rewards as well!

Shift your perspective to include more and see the success that follows.

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of and is currently working on his first book, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and attempting to learn the bagpipes.

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