Remember Snakes & Ladders? Didn’t you feel gleeful when you landed on a ladder? Like you got a direct line to achieving your goal – winning the game – and avoiding those dreaded snakes that made success harder.
Ladders are practical. Firefighters use them to save lives (and kittens too). You use them to clean eavestroughs as well as explore caves.
Then there’s the metaphorical way of seeing ladders. Jacob’s ladder symbolizes the connection between heaven and earth. Ladder variations appear in multiple fairy tales such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Old Rinkrank to impart lessons to generations of impressionable children. Abraham-Hicks uses a ladder image to describe the Emotional Guidance Scale.
In sum, ladders support you playfully, literally, and figuratively.
You can climb up or down ladders. This makes them helpful in binary choices: yes or no, black or white. Of course, life isn’t always simple, especially as you grow older. Life exists in shades of grey. Nuance colours conversations because context is important. Here’s where the lattice comes in.
Picture a lattice, or what I like to call it, a jungle gym. It’s made of rope, not wood like a ladder, and you can move up, down, sideways, and diagonally. Lattices let you move in multiple ways. This freedom of movement allows you to see nuanced, multi-perspective options. Lattices help us navigate complex situations.
Both ladders and lattices hold value in making choices. Here’s why.
Your Career Ladder – Clarity
Imagine your career today. Where do you find yourself on the ladder? Go ahead, take a moment and place yourself on your ladder. Are you in the middle? Are you one rung up? Two? Or how about three rungs down from the middle?
Now, shift from your physical location on the ladder to how you feel on it. Standing three rungs down from the middle, what emotion do you associate with it? Maybe you feel eager, in beginner mode, and look forward to ascending. Perhaps you feel lost or frustrated because you’re not moving in the direction you want.
Ladders clarify where you’re at in your life and how you feel about it.
Your Career Lattice – Growth
With clarity, the question becomes, What’s next? It’s true, you can always move up the ladder. At some point, though, you’ll reach a rung with which you feel satisfied. You won’t want to climb higher; you’ll feel comfortable at that rung.
And yet … the soul always yearns for growth.
Balancing that conundrum between satisfaction with where you’re at and your innate need for growth is challenging. Enter “the lattice.”
Remember that lattices let you move in many directions. Many directions mean many choices. Your choices define you more than anything else. It’s not what happens to you but how you choose to respond to it. This is how you grow.
Your Choice: Ladder or Lattice
Flexible rope lattices accommodate your professional and personal growth in many ways. Career-wise, lattices work for generalists and those looking at non-linear paths (diagonally or horizontally).
Wooden ladders work if you want to specialize or reach a high rung, usually pre-defined like a job title (CEO) or level of success (multi-million dollar business).
As I said, both have merit. Think “age and stage.” I have often seen people start with the ladder and move to the lattice, particularly women after having children, and people overall once they’ve achieved their career goal and are wondering what’s next.