Don’t be a squirrel.

I was taking my daughter to school recently when I spotted a squirrel running across the street from my right to the left. It was right in the middle of the road when I came real close to it. I began to slow down slightly to make sure I don’t run over it. The squirrel stopped in the middle of the road, spotted the oncoming car, thought for a second and decided to abandon its journey – it took a U-turn and went back. The whole episode lasted only a couple of seconds but it triggered a very profound lesson in my mind. That we must not abandon our journey and revert back to a safety net when we encounter obstacles. The squirrel had many choices:

  • it could have just stayed steady (these last 2 words are anagrams:-) and hoped that I would stop and let it go, OR
  • it could have run faster to avoid getting run over, OR
  • it could have gone 90 degrees to the left and allowed me room on the right to pass.

It did none of these.

But in the face of such obstacles while building our career and brand, we must do something and not take a U-turn. We must explore creative ways to overcome those obstacles and find ways to go around them, and move forward. We may not end up at the same place we wanted to go in the first place, but we will end up somewhere close to it – a place that is newer and where we can feel a sense of accomplishment. Such a place I think, is always a better place to be, than where we started.

Luckily, obstacles in real life rarely come as fast as an oncoming car:-) If you have your ‘social antennas’ up and have good mentors/coaches to share and bounce off what you are sensing, you can see them coming well in advance and develop a good plan.


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