“Life is painstakingly patient”I was told today.
The discussion was with a key decision-maker after I questioned not receiving optimal value from involvement in a project I have been asked to play a part in. In fact, I became involved for a different reason. That reason was a clear promise of higher returns further down the line, while this stepping stone was a way forward in getting me there.
But now everything just kept cruising along aimlessly, keeping you there but leaving you hanging. It promises change but the change never comes and an endless pit of repetition filled with empty promises and moving goalposts grow into a mountain of disappointment.
If you are not learning lessons in your working environment – one of two things usually pans out by itself in the end:
- It just breaks – coming down with a huge blow, scattering in a thousand pieces or,
- It can just stay stuck indefinitely, going nowhere until you make it move
The first option is often the punishment for stagnation as irrelevance sets in. The market does not really discriminate. If you missed the proverbial boat, it’s now too late and you will have to start from scratch, play catch-up or bow out.
But it is option two that stares me in the face today. For a considerable amount of time, I did what was asked of me, worked on short deadlines, did favours, stepped up and accepted no or little payment for my efforts because of the promise of down-the-road returns. The pressure imposed, time-consuming imbalance turned into a set of circumstances that is strangling me, has me gasping for air.
Building trusting relationships are valuable. It is about toeing the line between that and prolonged exploitation. No one agrees to be treated unfairly but if you agree to work on promises the goalposts might easily move, change or disappear. And while you are busy chasing the next finish line to get to victory, time passes and your situation does not change. In the end, it just does not happen.
And this apparently today, I was told is how life shows you painstaking patience. Until you get it!
Whether you work with a view of gaining something in the future or just help out at your own expense, just for now… the choice is yours. And the truth, when you finally have to accept that you have wasted so much time chasing rainbows of promise, is ruthless.
The blow can drain your legs of energy, cloud your mind. The weight can cling to your shoulders and push you down for days. For me, it was severe as the stakes were high and this answer derailed me. It made me feel like a misfit. One with little to offer, whether true or perceived, triggering a roller-coaster of pent up emotion and doubt and within seconds I questioned the future of my industry, my company and the future of… well, me.
Trying to make it work and figure things out is what we need to do on a regular basis.
Opting to let the water flow downhill instead of having to push it uphill is a very relevant tactic, but when is enough finally enough? When life becomes painstakingly patient and you are going nowhere slowly.
When something stays the same for too long, it probably will continue to pain you and if you don’t get it, or you do not learn the lesson, you will be forced to do so, or just take more of the same. Deciding to make it stop is always harsh, especially because of the time you invested. But it needs to be done if you want to move forward.
Knowing when enough is enough, is never straightforward but it might be time to let go when:
- You keep on waiting for the end result
- The goals posts change face and distance, regularly
- The situation doesn’t leave you oozing with confidence
- Give and take happens unequally – you seem to be doing more of the giving and the other party seems to do more of the taking
- It’s possibly the third attempt or more at making it work
- From a time perspective, it has been more than 6 months (yep, an attempt must be made at a time frame)
Change direction, get out and just stop it. You will thank me later. You are worth more of a chance to a way forward. Use the time you will gain to find it.