I know I did. As a former people manager, I know a lot of my people have had the same thought. At some point, you will too. So let me address for you all the questions that will cross your mind at that point, although there’s a good chance you are confronting them right now since you are reading this.
What do you do if you realize you’ve been going in a wrong direction for years? First thing: you stop. Or as my Psychological profiling teacher was saying: “if you fall into a pit, with a shovel in your hand, first you stop the digging”. Second: you take another route, a different path, that will get you out of there.
What if I take a wrong path? You stop and you take another path. Life is trial and error. There’s a difference between “feels right” and “it’s not fast enough”. I’ve been in a situation where everything felt right, but my life was not changing fast enough and I quit that road too early. I’ve admitted my mistakes, I own the consequences to this day and I’m back on my journey.
It feels scary. True. When you want to make a fundamental change… it is. It’s scary as f***.
It’s too late / I’m too old. I know this one so well. Too late compared to what? Too old compared to whom? We don’t all walk at the same pace and we don’t have to either. We’re 7 billion, it would be weird for all of us to have the same cadence. You may be limping at first, walk a bit slower, but once you’re on the right path and you can see the road ahead, you’ll start running. To this date, all world records in all domains were once considered impossible to beat. Those that broke the records had one thing in common: they didn’t know it’s impossible.
What will others say? Not your problem. I can tell you what some people thought when I decided to quit some important roles: “you must’ve done something, didn’t you? what did you do?”. I just realized I am spending my irreversible time, completely wrong. You don’t owe anyone an explanation.
What if I will upset some people dear to me? Not your problem. If you are dear to them, as they are to you, they will support you. If not, leaving them behind is not a loss. You will find a new tribe on the way. The purpose of your existence isn’t to please those around you.
How do I know if I’ve chosen right this time? You don’t need a book or an article to tell you if whatever you’re doing now – work, love life, career, hobby – or will do, is right or not. You feel it.
Deep down, people admire those who find the courage in them to change their life. They envy them. And yes, at first it will not look right from the outside, but it will feel right on the inside. In real life, sometimes victory may look like the Nike of Samothrace because you have to fight to achieve it. On the way you might lose a wing, an arm, some friends, some material possessions. So what? Who says you can’t rebuild, who says you need them? Only our limiting beliefs.
People often criticize and try to stop those that want to make a radical change in their life, because they can’t bare to see other succeeding in what they couldn’t do. For those that don’t want to change, seeing others failing becomes an excuse for them, to not even try.
The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Then another one and another one, until you won’t be able to see where you started. A soon-to-be martial arts instructor was always saying to me: “Do what you can, but do it now!“
Whenever you will feel like stopping, think about why you started.