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Sometimes You Have to Take Two Steps Backward – Assess Your Path

By | Patrick Leddin, Ph.D. | Vanderbilt University Professor, Author, Speaker, & Podcaster

I recently had surgery on my left arm. The procedure was designed to fix a pinched nerve that has caused my hand to be essentially numb for the last five months. At the same time, I’m planning to climb Mount Elbrus, the highest point in Europe, with my son and son-in-law this summer. They’ve already embarked on the training plan for the hike, but I have to wait until I’ve resolved the nerve problem. It feels a bit like I’m having to take two steps backward before I can move forward again.  

Perhaps you are facing a two steps backward moment. You want to keep pressing forward, but at some level, you know that you need to fix something first.

Here are two quick examples:

  • Your current job isn’t panning out the way you thought it would. Career development opportunities aren’t what you hoped for and you’re not passionate about the work. You’re wondering if you should pivot and send out your resume. At the same time, you don’t want to deal with the challenges of joining a new team and a new organization. Doing so would feel like you are losing ground – at least in the short-term.
  • Your team has some unresolved trust or performance issues that need to be addressed. However, you’ve been so focused on making it through 2020, that you have continued to delay some tough conversations to next week, next month, or next year. Guess what? Next year is here and, although addressing the issue might slow progress at the moment as they will cause a change in focus, it’s worth the short-term sacrifice to reap long-term gains.

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