Lessons from the Trevi Fountain for the New Work World



By Mary Ann Faremouth,

 

“Blessed are the Curious for They Shall Have Adventures” is a famous quote by author Lovelle Drachman that has always resonated with me.  And what an adventure I had on a trip to Rome in 2019!  I was there in June, and one of the most memorable experiences I had was visiting the Trevi Fountain.  This fountain, like all great pieces of art, tells a story.  The iconography of this fountain is nothing short of majestic.  The statues and reliefs incorporated into the fountain are allegorical, each symbolizing a specific concept. When I sit at my desk in 2021 and reflect on this world-famous fountain, not only am I reminded of its overwhelming beauty and symbolism, but I think there also might be some important lessons we can glean for the New Work World.

 

In the center of the fountain is a statue of Oceanus, the Titan God of the Earth. His chariot is being pulled by two sea horses, one of which is calm and the other agitated, representing the alternating characteristics of the rivers and the seas.  To the left of Oceanus is the statue of the goddess Abundance,  carrying a horn of plenty. Above her is a statue of Agrippa, a Roman army general famous for his involvement during 45 BC in the repairs and renovations of the aqueducts to Rome. To the right of Oceanus is the goddess Health who is holding a cup that a snake is drinking from. Above her is the Virgo Aqueduct that takes its name from the legend of a young girl who led tired and thirsty Roman soldiers to a source of fresh water.  The four statues at the top of Palazzo Poli represent the fertile earth and the bountiful gifts that rainfall provides:  fruits, crops, autumn harvest and flowers.  The fountain also features several types of plants including figs, grapes, ivy, cactus, artichokes and an oak stump.

 

Legend has it that to correctly make a wish, you turn your back to the magnificent fountain and throw a coin over your left shoulder into the water. It is believed that if you do that, there is a high probability that you may return to Rome.  This tradition also dates back to the ancient Romans who threw coins in the water to make the gods of water favor their journey or help them get back home safely. As a recruiter during our time, I am reminded of my role with client companies, other recruiters and candidates, assisting them on their career journey and allowing them to get home to who they really are and be in alignment with their career goals in the New Work World.  Let’s take a look at important lessons we might capture from the Trevi Fountain as we all are ready to move forward to an employment arena with more expansive and successful results.

 

 

 

1. Have a Positive and Determined Mindset

It all starts with a the right mindset.  In my many years doing this job, I am amazing by

the numbers of applicants I have placed that did not have the exact background, skillset, experience, etc. What they did have, however, was a MINDSET that was positive, strong, and determined to bring value to a company.  Just like the Titan god, Oceanus, at the center of the Trevi Fountain being pulled by two horses–one calm, and the other agitated, representing the alternating characteristics of the rivers and the seas–we have that same choice on how we will move forward. I cannot stress enough how the right MINDSET should be at the center of your career quest.  It makes all the difference in the end result and also will play a major role as to how people will take notice of your character and attitude. A positive mindset will always serve you well going forward.

 

2. Have an Abundance of Gratitude

The goddess Abundance featured with her horn of plenty reminds us that

perhaps we can be grateful for the abundant blessings in our life.  Abundance isn’t always only about material blessings. What about the friendships, professional relationships, family, shelter, and food on the table that you have in your life?  Going into an interview and speaking of your abundant blessings will never hurt you. Making a statement about the “abundance of knowledge” you may have gleaned from a previous supervisor or how a very difficult task gave you abundant lessons in perseverance, team orientation, etc., will always be well received.  So many of my clients have told me how they were impressed with candidates who demonstrated gratitude, even during their darkest hours, rather than comment about the challenges they encountered.  Focus on an abundance of gratitude and you will always be ahead of the game.

 

3. Have a ritual of Healthy Self-Care

At the fountain, Agrippa, a Roman army general also known for his works on Rome’s infrastructure, along with the Goddess of Health, reminds us that we all need to take care of our internal and external health.  The last several months may have taken a real toll on your emotional, spiritual, and physical health.  What are you doing now to make sure you are staying strong and taking good care of YOU? Are you eating a healthy diet, are you surrounding yourself with people who are nurturing and supportive, are you investigating practices like YOGA, meditation, exercise, Tai-Chi, etc., that will allow you to connect with that calm inside yourself to allow you to stay healthy and safe?

 

4. The Gifts of Failure

The four statues at the top of the Palazzo Poli  represent the fertile earth and the bountiful gifts that rainfall provides.   This always reminds me of a famous speech , “The Benefits of Failure,” that the author J.K. Rowling gave to a  graduating class at Harvard. She talked about how a season of rain spurred her on to begin writing her Harry Potter series. The famous quote by Charles Beard observed so poignantly: “When it’s dark enough, you can see the Stars.” Although Covid may have brought us shades of failures in different ways, etc., it may have also propelled us to move forward in ways we never would have dreamed of if Covid had not occurred.

 

Let’s all choose to move forward on our own fertile ground with our  bountiful gifts and trust that the fruits of labor can be manifested if we operate with a positive and determined mindset, have an abundance of gratitude, take good care of ourselves and reap the benefits of meeting our challenges successfully.  We CAN create our own story of beauty and amazement! The choice is up to you, of course, but I am of the belief that better days are ahead.  It all starts with the right mindset and belief system. And as part of your own adventure, check out the Trevi Fountain.  It’s a real sight to see, but also  has many lessons of wisdom to teach us.

Mary Ann Faremouth 

Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, D.C., and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze,  Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. (www.faremouth.com)

Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction, Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books, Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019), Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018), Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction and the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business.  Her new workbook, Revolutionary Reinvention, was recently released on Amazon. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.

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