Stick it out or move on? What if you give up right before you would have been a wild success? Then again, what if you stick it out indefinitely and nothing much happens.
In all likelihood, you’re not psychic so making the decision needs to be thoughtful with no guarantee of being right. Ugh. However, don’t let that keep you stuck.
As I drove down my street this morning, there was a group of birds all pecking at something in the road. I moved my car forward slowly to give them time to scatter. Birds around here seem to wait until last minute to decide if they’re going to bother getting out of the way. This time, they all disbanded except one.
This one brave bird held her ground, moved over a smidge, and stayed by the side of the interesting bit in the road.
A quick look in my rearview mirror told the rest of the story. Reward in her beak, she’d won. If birds could smile, I was certain that would be the look on her face.
So, ask yourself, are you the bird that stuck around, or one of the many that scattered? What’s your gut tell you? After all, there was a car coming, and it could have run you over. Then again, maybe it would just pass you by if you braved it out.
What’s your natural inclination? Run or stand? Self-preservation or risk-taker?
Believe it or not, one answer or inclination is not is absolutely better than the other in all circumstances.
People like to think that the “right way” to be is brave (always), bold (without fear), and that you need to do whatever it takes to succeed. However, there are times when self-preservation is the right answer and pushing forward at all costs is not.
You need to understand the reward. Not all wins are created equal, and some battles simply don’t have to be fought.
Maybe my one bird that stood her ground actually got something that the others didn’t care about. The ones that left did the right thing on two fronts – safety and value. The value wasn’t there so why take the risk?
Perhaps the bird got something incredibly valuable, and the others had their fight or flight instincts kick in and take control.
Then there’s a third option, the bird that stayed was just plain dumb, or blind to the threat moving 4,000 pounds of steel down the street towards her tiny body.
Stick it Out or Move On?
The next time you’re facing the equivalent of a car hurtling towards you, ask yourself these questions as you determine if you should stick it out or move on. I encourage sketch out your answer in a notebook as you brainstorm through.
If you don’t know the answers, ask for input. Never underestimate the value of a fresh perspective.
- What’s the value, beyond the monetary, of what I’m trying to achieve?
- What’s the worst possible outcome?
- What’s the best possible outcome?
- Is it worth it?
- Where are my blinders?
- What am I missing?
Not everyone who stands their ground and perseveres is smart and successful.
Not everyone who moves on is dumb and a loser.
Life, career, success and leadership are all vastly more complex than “never give up.” It’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. The most successful people know when to stand strong and when to give up, move on – and shift.
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