Imagine that you are driving from Chicago to New York, for whatever reason. Maybe you couldn’t get a plane ticket and there is a Broadway show or baseball game playoff that you want to attend. You are tooling right along at 75mph and after a hundred miles you see a sign for Iowa indicating you are actually going West and not East. Do you keep going? Or do you take the very next exit and turn around? Most people would probably turn around if they are only a short time into a long journey. But the longer we stay on the wrong road or heading the wrong direction, the higher the propensity for us to just shrug and say, “well… it’s too late to turn around now.”
Let’s pretend your best friend from grade school calls you and says they are in Daytona. Come join them at the beach, a place you both said you always wanted to go. You leave for your, let’s say, 700 mile journey, driving again, across part of the country and 600 miles later you realize that you went the wrong way. Do you just accept where you are and spend a few days in Arkansas or do you turn around and start again for Daytona- where your buddy is… at the beach… waiting for you?
Too many of us just sigh heavily and say resignedly, “well, I’m here now… or I’ll be there shortly… my other, real, destination is a lot further in the other direction.”
I want to encourage you to turn around. If you notice you took a wrong turn or are heading in the wrong direction or are simply somewhere you do not truly want to be, stop and turn around. You may need to sit at a truck stop with the road atlas and figure out what you need to do, I encourage you to do so.
Keeping with the same series of analogies, perhaps you heard that Lincoln Nebraska was the next Silicon Valley of your particular field of interest, Cog X. Oh, how you have always loved everything about Cog X. Their sleekness, their speed, their colors… there is just nothing dull about Cog X. You excitedly pack up your car, this time with a better GPS, and you go there. When you get there, you realize it is not good for Cog X, but fantastic for Cog Y, which is actually very different from Cog X even if only people involved with Cog X’s and Y’s would recognize the difference. You spent your whole life dreaming of Cog X’s and how you were going to make them faster and stronger and more colorful. Cog Y’s are actually supposed to move slowly, be thick, weak and grey.
But you are here now, right? You unpacked the car. You rented a house or bought one. Furnished it. You should just stick it out and make the best of it, right?
Take a breath, break out the life atlas and turn yourself around! It may take you a few days or weeks or months to sell the house, sell the furniture, repack the car and set off again. Do it.
Sometimes we just need to slow down, stop and maybe turn around.