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Holding On Way Too Long

December 8, 2014


My neighbor has beautiful mature maple trees. This is a picture of one of them. My maple trees, by comparison are tiny. They are basically big twigs sticking out of the ground. True, his are about 6 years older than mine. Hopefully mine will look this nice in a few years.

However, my neighbor has a problem with his trees, this one in particular. It’s currently December. All the other trees have long since dropped their leaves. The leaves have been raked and turned into mulch in the garden, or escaped on a gust of wind to make their way across Utah’s desert landscape.

But, this tree stands alone. It has refused to give up its leaves. It continues to hold on even through the first snow and a series of below freezing nights. Noble? Heroic? Or pathetic and sad?

I once worked for Microsoft. It was a long time ago and I was young. I had some great jobs. I was a corporate trainer for years, a job I loved. I worked for two of the greatest leaders I had ever known. But, I also had some terrible positions and managers. And that’s what got me fired.

I was in a position that didn’t fit. I should have walked away. But, I was convinced that if I just hung on for a few more months, if I worked a little harder, I could make it work. I was wrong. In the words of James Collins, author of Good To Great, I was in the wrong seat on the bus. I should have walked away. I didn’t. And then I got fired. Over a decade later it still makes me cringe.

I held on too long. Because since it was the wrong position, I wasn’t going to make it anyway. Had I walked away, I would have set myself up better for my next job.

“I wanted to try something new” is a much better explanation than, “I got shown the door.”

We all have things in our life that we hang on to for too long. A job? A relationship? Cheese?

My neighbor is kind of annoyed about his tree, although in fairness it does this every year. As you can see he’s got quite the Christmas light setup. The tree is blocking the Christmas lights. When we hold on for too long it prevents us from making the necessary changes to move on.

We’re stuck. And that’s kind of sad.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild.

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