Sometimes you have to change your mind – a life crossroads moment

Reading our Australian friend Amanda’s post this morning (see link below), she noted it is more than OK to start down a path and do a U-turn. Sometimes, you realize you have embarked on a journey you don’t want to go on or you have chosen the wrong person to go with. This reminded me of a real life crossroads moment.

I left consulting for a job with one of my clients which I loved. I wanted to work on that side of the table for awhile, knowing it would benefit me no matter what I did in the future. After a few years, I got an opportunity to go back into consulting and return to a city that my wife and I met in and started our family. With sadness I turned in my resignation.

As I was packing up my office, I came to the life shattering revelation that I did not want to leave, at least not just yet. I also realized I was selling myself short, as I was going back into the same level of consulting that I left, just with a different company.

So, I called my wife and said “I cannot do this.” She asked “Pack?” And, I said “No, leave.” She then said “Who are you?” in gest. With her blessing, we decided to stay, but I had to call my boss. In turn, he had to call his boss. And, of course, I had to call the employer I was turning down.

With their permission, I rescinded my resignation. It was the best unwinding of a decision I have ever done. I enjoyed my time there and received many opportunities to learn and grow. I eventually did leave a few years later, one reason being the company was going to have to merge as it needed to be more scalable. I was offered a job that was clearly a better one than the one I turned down after accepting. It should be noted, the job was with the same company I turned down, so I did not burn any bridges the first time.

Life crossroads don’t come around often. So, it is important to make sure the decision is what you want to do. If I left, it would have been OK, but I was much better off by staying. I have regretted not going further down certain paths, yet whatever steps are taken should involve some due diligence the more important the decision. Frost called it “The Road not taken.” Whether you take it or not, give it some thought.

The Destination or Pathway of Life – Something to Ponder About (wordpress.com)

27 thoughts on “Sometimes you have to change your mind – a life crossroads moment

  1. Due diligence is a great strategy. Taking deep breaths before jumping does as well. One of the fascinating things about getting older is that we can gain new perspectives on these crossroad moments, these ‘sliding doors,’ of life. Follow your gut feeling because it is usually right. But do that due diligence to be sure!

      • Thanks Amanda. I did see that movie. I agree it was cleverly done and made you think. I also liked how the two paths touched a little in the end. Thanks for the reminder of that – I actually had forgotten its name until I searched with your help. Speaking of Gwyneth Paltrow who starred in this movie, I was always a huge fan of her mother, Blythe Danner. I remember her as one of Alan Alda’s girlfriends in a “Mash.” I don’t know if you had that TV series there.

  2. .

    […] she noted it is more than OK to start down a path and do a U-turn.

    The ability to recognise the necessity for a ‘U-turn’ is a useful trait. But ‘more than OK’, I would disagree with; while some appear incapable of even considering them, others seem to think nothing of it even though it can mean they end up going in circles.

  3. I experienced this as one of the toughest things to grant myself. I was taught to make a decision, stick to it, and pull it through until the end. Yes, I am still one of those who suggest not to give up when the first obstacles appear. But it was a hard thing to break out of those “you have to walk the started path to the end” patterns. It was already such an insight to realize that I am allowed to break out of the patterns. Once I realized that it is MY, and only MY, business to change my mind at any point of the journey, it was the most liberating feeling. I am about to do this again in the near future. Sometimes the circumstances or conditions change, or (for whatever reason) your gut feeling changes. It doesn’t matter. If something doesn’t feel right anymore then change it or stop it. But don’t think you need to do it that you don’t disappoint others.

    • Erika, thanks for sharing some of the internal dialogue you have dealt with. We do teach finish what you start, but sometimes with more information you realize you are on a perilous path. For example, what if you realize a business or romantic partner cannot be trusted or does something that puts you in jeopardy, what actions do you take? Preferably, we make these decisions before the journey starts, but maybe the information is hidden until discovered after you begin. Keith

      • Absolutely, Keith! We need to be flexible enough to react to current situations and take immediate action when we see that something is not working as “it should” (whatever “should” means). It is part of the journey indeed. What I often say is that we start a journey with a particular goal in mind. On the way the goal can change due to the happenings along the way or changed conditions. However, it was necessary to pursue the original goal in order to only start the journey which then will take us to the destination we are meant to reach (or the path we are meant to walk).

  4. Good for you for realizing that your new path wasn’t right and for having the courage to change it even though you were “committed.”. And good for your wife for supporting your desire to stay. I had a friend who married someone she had doubts about because “the wedding invitations were already in the mail.” As you can imagine, that decision was a disaster and it took her a long time to recover from it.

    • Thanks Janis. Your example reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink” about those subconscious gut feelings. He defined those as your experiences subconsciously warning you. So, the fiancee should have trusted her gut instinct. Keith

  5. Such a strong, positive life lesson, Keith. You were strong and smart to reconsider the move after having gone as far down that road as you already had. Your wife, btw, deserves huge kudos for understanding and supporting your decision. Often family considerations play a very large role in the decisions people make.

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