Let me tell you a little story. When I was ten, I went to Disney World with my dad, sister, and two brothers. A ten-year-old’s dream, right?
No. I was a little wuss and spent the day sitting on park benches while my dad and siblings rode the rides. (Don’t feel too sad for me. I had cotton candy.)
Toward the end of the day, I finally got up the nerve to try a roller coaster — Space Mountain. If you’ve ever to Space Mountain, you know that it’s a roller coaster in the dark and this super fun pitch black experience includes the entire time you’re waiting in line.
We were almost to the front of the line when I saw it: The bright red EXIT sign. I turned to my family, said “Bye bitches,”* and peaced out back to the comfort of my little bench.
What does this have to do with you? When we’re trying something new in life and we’re scared or doubtful, life throws up exit signs for us. They’re attention-grabbing, neon-colored escape routes and they’re tempting as hell.
I’m not talking about the legitimate warning signs that a situation is not for you — I’m talking about the exit signs that are put in our way to pressure-test our commitment. (And if you’re my client, I will intentionally put them in your way. Fun for everyone.)
I was talking to a friend recently who’s unhappy at work, both in her job and her industry, and we were chatting about her next steps. She mentioned that she had reached out to someone on Instagram who has her dream career, but that the woman wasn’t available to speak to her for at least the next month. My friend was disheartened by the exchange and had lost some of the wind from her sails.
I said to her, “What are you going to make it mean for you and your future that this one woman in this one potential career happens to be having a busy month?”
You get to choose what you ascribe meaning to. You can take a situation and say, “Well, that’s my exit sign.” Or, you can take the same situation and say, “Thanks, but I’m actually going to stick this one out.”
*Not an exact quote