Career Tips Over Coffee:  Pull Back to Move Forward

Blog Post created by susan.hodge Champion on Mar 30, 2016

Katie's recent post about "quitting" brought to mind this blog post I wrote some time back in another forum.  It applies in personal situations as well as careers.  I find it relevant whenever I'm trying "too hard" to make something happen.  Here's the post.  I hope you like it:


I know I’m not the only one out there who is a control freak.  It’s very hard to let go of things, including the behavior of others, even when I know that I cannot control the situation.  It's especially hard when I feel strongly about an issue.  Have you had this experience?  You believe something should happen a certain way, so you push the issue forward.  You keep pushing regardless of the resistance.


Maybe you’ll bring up the subject when others don’t want to deal with it, provide them with great advice (which they ignore), even make it happen before the right parties are on board.  Isn’t that demonstrating the admirable characteristic of persistence?


But when we persist without considering what we truly can control, the behavior can become manipulative and counter-productive.


There’s a story I heard years ago that I use as a reminder about pushing too hard.


A little boy was trying to get his donkey to move out of the barn.  He was standing in front of the donkey pulling and pulling and pulling on the harness.  That donkey had no interest in moving forward.  The harder the little boy
pulled, the harder the donkey dug in his heels and pulled back.  It was just the two of them in a tug of war, with the donkey winning.


Meanwhile the little boy’s grandpa was sitting on a stool in the barn watching. “Grandpa”, the little boy called, “get behind the donkey and push him forward while I pull.”  The grandpa casually got up, walked over to the donkey and pulled backward on the donkey’s tail.  The donkey walked out of the barn.


Sometimes you’ve got to pull back to get things to move forward.


Where do you need to pull back?