We are going back in time by 22 years. Against all odds from friends and family, I became an assistant at the University. Not a particularly special time except it was then that Napster became world news. This software program enabled everyone to easily exchange music. You may know of this possibility under the name "file sharing”; the exchange of digital files including music and later film too. The music industry responded to the declining sales of music through the classic carriers, such as the CD, by beginning a witch-hunt on Napster and its users. Some artists, such as Metallica, even personally argued this battle from the sector. But, as expected, that didn't work except to put a big dent in the image of both the industry and the artist. Digital music and film distribution was born and this Satan child would not die.

And that brings me seamlessly to Iron Maiden. This British band broke through with the album "The Number of The Beast" and the eponymous title song. These long-haired rockers also saw the classic sales of their albums plummet due to illegal music downloads. They devised a new strategy, choosing to play more live music (Rock in Rio), offer exclusive merchandising (the mascot Eddie) and use a digital offering (the computer game Legacy of the Beast). Finding and seizing opportunities, including taking into account difficulties and challenges, is what we mean when we talk about positive focus. Positive thinking alone is not enough. After all, it is a fine line between positivity and naivety. A thorough analysis of reality, weighing up opportunities and taking the right action goes far beyond what self-help books make us believe. It is hard work but it can work. Today Iron Maiden has a net worth of $ 125 million. Their singer Bruce Dickinson can be satisfied with an income that exceeds one hundred million. Now, as a temporary self-employed unemployed person, I have an income that is slightly lower than Bruce's. I do have his autograph and an Iron Maiden drumstick, caught in flight during their performance. But neither for me nor for you are some nice memories of better times enough to keep our positive focus. What can help is the combination of three steps.

©Iron Maiden

The first and, in my opinion, most important step is to accept yourself and reality. Self-acceptance is the ability to see one's own limitations in a certain situation and time period. The advantage for you is then to spend your limited time and energy on the things on which you can have an impact. Superman and Superwoman are cartoon characters. None of us can do everything. If "Kryptonite" did exist, I would suggest a heavy-handed application to the self-proclaimed all-rounders. Now let's finally be open about our limitations. That is fairer to ourselves and certainly also to our environment. After all, by promoting your limitations, you let people know what they can or cannot turn to you for. That is why I also temporarily resigned my mandate as a Director at Mobile School. Our organization now needs a board of directors with talents other than mine. The moment my talents are needed I will be there again, I promise! And that also brings me to organizations and specific interest groups. It is a strength that you as an organization fight against a reality. However, if there are no valid indications that you can change that reality, you may be better off just accepting it. Instead invest the released time and energy into the opportunities that have a positive impact on this reality. Think of the music industry: designing a high-quality and legal digital offering makes much more sense than using all means to combat illegal alternatives.

You, as an individual or organization, are ready for step two if you can accept that everything is not possible for everyone. At that moment you can shape your reason for existence, or the obscured "purpose". Purpose is about what impact you want to have and knowing what impact you can have. Iron Maiden is not a boys band, their goal is to let "The British wave of Heavy Metal" strike worldwide. It is unbelievable how few people have an answer for me on what impact they want to have on their organization or team. Keeping a positive focus, as the concept also states, lies in making choices. The mobile school's raison d'être is to increase the self-esteem and self-confidence of street children. That is a choice, but a choice that we as a team strongly believe in.

It is only when you know what you can and cannot do, that you are able to decide what impact you want to have and can then move on to step three: define progress and grow. Much has been said and written about the "Growth Mindset", "Goalsetting", "Hope Theory" and "Pathway Thinking". In summary, these theories boil down to the fact that if you become convinced that completing your reason for existence (purpose) will not work, you will probably be proven right. However they also teach us that the chance of achieving a goal without setting it first is relatively small. This may sound trivial, but it is not. Without the willingness to set concrete results, goals and actions, the previous steps remain empty boxes. Ever heard of "Ed Force One"? Well, that's the Boeing 747 with Bruce Dickinson behind the controls that transported Iron Maiden and their crew to over 50 locations worldwide. Good that he puts his reason for existence - to learn -  into practice, but disturbing that "What does this button do?" is the title of his autobiography.

And if you want a heads up now, for next week's piece I have been told from above not to use heavy metal bands. That is why I diligently look for inspiring stories from the series .. My Little Pony.

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