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What needs to go?

Are you enjoying your meal?

The diners nodded appreciatively, however, the waiter paused and asked again.  “Are you really sure you’re enjoying your meal?  It’s just, I noticed that you didn’t take a photo of it.” 

“I noticed that you didn’t take a photo of it.” 

Whenever I go out to dine, if I can, I like to find the menu online before arriving so that I can have a few uninterrupted minutes to make a selection before I get to the restaurant.  It’s a serious business, making such an important selection, and I really don’t like to be interrupted with ill-timed idle chatter to which I am expected to reply when I am about to make such an important decision.

Well, not really, I am rather exaggerating there.  I often find myself torn in making a decision between three choices: something healthy since I’m trying to lose weight (again), choosing one of my favourite dishes, and trying something new.

One thing is for sure, there comes a point when the decision has to be made and I can’t choose all three.  

As silly and trivial as that all sounds, it’s a pretty similar thing we have to do in many areas of life.  When I left school I had to choose between several offers for a place at University, then on graduation, I had to select which of several job offers I wanted to take up, and of course, I’m not alone in those decisions.

When starting a career the choice of which one to embark on is relatively straightforward, as there is nothing to give up.  However, after working at my first company for 10 years I was faced with wanting to move on to another company, however I really didn’t want to leave my old job.  

I knew I wanted to do something new, but I was comfortable working with colleagues that I had known for many years, and in a business that I knew pretty well.  My second job lasted less than 2 years, and I was soon ready for another move to my third employer, and it was over 10 years after that before I decided to embark on the journey of being self-employed.  

“The greatest detriment to tomorrow’s success, is today’s success.”

~ Rick Warren

Some of these choices are between two or more alternative courses of action, such as which meal to order, which university to attend, or which employer to work for.  Other choices are simply a choice of doing something or not doing something, such as moving from one employer to another (or not), and starting my own business (or not).  

“As we climb higher, we have more, and we find it more difficult to let go of what we’ve worked for.:

~ John Maxwell

These latter choices can sometimes be the harder choices to make, and I find my self rocking back and forth, mentally, between “I want to move on” and “actually, I like it here”.  Sometimes “here” has become really comfortable, and the trauma associated with going “there” is too much to contemplate facing.  I know I should move on, but I am comfortable where I am.  We often hear “I would love to … but”, and a longing wistful look accompanies a resigned acceptance that “there” that may never become the new “here”.

This is where personal leadership comes in.

Before you start something new, you need to decide what you are going to stop.  Before you can grow, you need to decide what needs to go.  

In “Leadership Gold” John Maxwell lists several types of choice we often have to make to trade “here” for “there”.  

Also, if you are a person of faith then you may wish also  to consider another trade:

All of these trades involve giving up something comfortable for something valuable, and involve an element of risk.

“By avoiding risk, we really risk what is most important in life – reaching toward growth, our potential and a true contribution to a common goal.”

~Max DePree

Just as we sometimes have to decide to give up an evening on the couch watching TV in order to get to a training event, or to give up an easy task for a more difficult task, so we sometimes have to consider giving up the security of the known thing of little value for the insecurity of the unknown thing of much larger value. 

Now that’s scary; and yet it can be so very, very rewarding.

About Roger Fairhead

Roger is a leadership specialist delivering Leadership for Business Achievement through Speaking, Training and Coaching to business leaders and entrepreneurs.

“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.

Leadership for Business also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.