“This is your moment. You’re meant to be here!” —Herb Books
Carpe diem is a Latin phrase first scribed in a poem by the great Roman poet, Horace, and has become a popular modern phrase (in some cases, a tattoo on a colleagues arm) in modern culture —Seize the Day. In Latin, Carpe literally mans to pick, pluck, or to crop. In the larger rural agrarian culture of the Romans, it was a phrase often used during the season when landowners would set out to gather their harvest—and thus earn their living. It’s a common misconception that Diem is a literal translation as “day.” The idea of a “day” in Latin refers to not only to a literal twenty-four hour period, but also can refer to a moment in time, or a specific season like the harvest.
This ancient phrase is something to keep in mind in today’s workplace. Even though our technology driven culture is a far cry from the pastoral culture Horace spoke to in his classic poem, there is a timeless relevance that is directly applicable to an environment that is driven through small seasons.
Because of the technological revolution of personal computers, the Internet, and mobile devices, today’s workplace has largely become a project based work environment. Many individual contributors and self leaders in today’s workplace don’t punch a time card, checking in at a certain time, watching the clock, and checking back out. Today’s 24/7 accesses to projects allows individuals to do their work, any time it is convenient for them to apply their skills and complete their tasks on a given project. (So, when can we do away with Ben Franklin’s annual day light savings glitch?)
A client recently called me requesting a fresh way to promote a new book release. They felt the need to move beyond a simple “talking head” video that dumps information about the book on the viewer, but rather create a story about why the book would be worth reading. She expressed her need and desire, a few ideas were conceived and planted by our team, a solution was chosen and cultivated through our team’s knowledge and skills, and a fresh new promotional video was harvested.
Most of the work we do today is through a host of projects, completed with interrelated skills, through a variety of technologies, over the course of a few days, several weeks or several months—a season. It is our glorious duty, nay, it is our privilege, to vigorously plant, pick, pluck, and harvest each project that comes into our sphere of influence.
It is our moment to embrace the needs of our internal and external clients and serve them with a passion that rivals and reflects the ancient civilizations that inspired poets to coin phrases that are as relevant today as they were when they were first scribed those words thousands of years ago. Today is our day to Seize the Project and produce a timeless legacy through the work we do—moment to moment, day to day, season to season.
Jason Diamond Arnold
Co-Author of Situational Self Leadership in Action