Not gonna lie. I’m already sick of the presidential campaigns and we haven’t even finished the primaries. My husband watches most the debates, and I find myself sucked into the mire. Thursday night I watched as the Republican front-runners argued about whether or not the other is a liar and digressed into personal attacks. Meh!
I’m not a yyuuggee Trump fan when it comes to the presidential bid, but I have to admit, he’s a smooth talker when he keeps his cool. Thursday night when Megan Kelly asked him why he was comfortable changing his mind on so many subjects, my ears perked up, and as a life coach, I found myself nodding my head along with his answer.
He basically said that any good leader understands the need for flexibility and then he said my favorite line, “If you know you’re going the wrong way, you change directions. You don’t keep going down the wrong path.” (paraphrased)
Y’all, I’m embarrassed to say it took me until my thirties to understand this concept. Somewhere in my growing up years, I picked up the idea that to be trustworthy and reliable, I had to do exactly as I had said… always, without ever changing my mind and no matter the actions of the people around me.
While I agree with the importance of follow-through, eliminating the possibility of changing one’s mind doesn’t allow for the natural process of maturing, growing, and learning. Never being able to admit we’re wrong keeps us stuck in old patterns that don’t work.
Here are several reasons I’ve found people stay on the wrong path:
Oh Lawdy! Pride do cometh before a fall. Have you ever been arguing with someone and realized about five minutes into the conversation that their point is better than yours, but in an effort to save face you keep arguing? If you’re answer is “No” pat yourself on the back and skip the next paragraph. However, if you’re like me, then keep calm and carry on.
I found myself in this situation more when I was younger… when my pride and determination to win was stronger than my desire to learn. I thought I knew it all. Now I know I don’t know, what I don’t know and I’m okay admitting that to others.
With age came the realization being right isn’t as valuable as the process of growth. When I’m unable to admit my shortcomings, I’m unable to move past them. I walk with clients who know something isn’t right, but can’t put their finger on it. Or, they know how they want to change, but need a little help getting there. The first step is having the courage to admit we need change.
2. They’ve already invested a lot.
Many people stay where they are because they think they have too much skin in the game. They’ve already invested a ton of time, a ton of money, and possibly a ton of other resources. Poker rookies often make this mistake. They know their hand isn’t win-worthy, but they can’t stand the idea of throwing away their bets so they refuse to fold. They end up losing more. In poker, as in life, it is often the right move to fold and move on to the next hand.
There are people who are in dead-end jobs, jobs that suck the life out of them, or situations that are literally killing them physically or emotionally, but they don’t want to lose their investments. They worked hard to get where they are and possibly don’t have hope things can change.
This is only true, if you stay where you are. When you make the mental shift that life could be different, you are ready to explore the possibilities. And they, my friend, are endless. Kenny Rogers said it best when he said, “You gotto know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.”
3. They think it’s too late.
Maybe you wish for better things but think it’s too late. Perhaps prior life decisions have narrowed your choices, life’s thrown you a curve ball and knocked you off your feet, you aren’t a spring chicken anymore, or know you don’t like where you are, but aren’t sure where you want to go. Take hope from others’ stories.
Just the other day, I was at the pediatrician’s office with my two youngest. The doctor was telling me the story of how a woman he knew had gotten her medical degree after her last child started kindergarten. She went on to be a wonderful family physician in the second half of her life.
We’ve heard stories of mothers graduating college along side their children and a quick google search brings up five women ranging in age from 79 to 99 who were finishing a college degree! (this was on only on the first page of results.) It’s never too late to follow your dreams and listen to your inner voice.
It takes courage and determination to start new, but it’s worth it in the end. No one lays on their deathbed saying, “man, I really wish I hadn’t followed my dream.”
What about you? Is there anything you know isn’t the right path, but you choose to stay?Do you need to make the mental shift today to be able to get yourself on the right path?What’s stopping you from being able to correct your course?
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