Question, breath, ponder and return
Hindsight is 20/20. The importance of spending the time to look back at what worked, what didn’t, why it worked and why it didn’t is important. It is hard to not beat yourself up over mistakes, at least I can’t help myself, but I want to believe I am getting better at questioning more in the moment, giving myself time to breathe and ponder before returning to the issue at large.
I am in the midst of a few projects. There were red flags in one particular area and I saw them but as many do in the moment, you just make it work. When I started to get some space, I started to hear from other people stories that confirmed what I knew. There was also a point where there was a swell of voices around me saying enough is enough but I was in too deep. Reality is you are never in too deep to make a change.
Time and time again I have heard from Founders after they had parted ways with someone in their company after trying to make it work. What happened after making that move is people inside the company breathe a sigh of relief. The stories begin to come out including the discovery of what was left in that person’s wake and as a Founder, you ask yourself “how come nobody said anything”?
Maybe it is age, maybe it is becoming more self-aware but I learned a lot from this past experience. Not that I won’t make the same mistake again but at least next time I will force myself to step back in the moment vs just holding on to the end. You can always change horses.
There were red flags in one particular area and I saw them but as many do in the moment, you just make it work. There is a concept that I have which I call ‘the lever’. That is where an event early on takes added and more important relevance because you have no other data to evaluate how important it is.I will give the example of when I was away on a trip about 10 years ago with my now wife. We were on a cruise about 3 months after meeting. On the cruise she freaked out about something and ran off. I thought ‘oh boy here we go oh well she is really just like “X” I should have known’. Well guess what? It was a singular occurrence and it literally never happened again. But when it happened I pattern matched and figured the obvious which was this was going to be frequent behavior and a show stopper in a relationship.What’s funny is that she had the same experience with me on the first date. I told her a story about something that happened in my past relationship and it struck a nerve and made her think ‘wow do I really want to be with this guy’. (Not a big deal but it was to her because of her past). However she liked enough other things about our date that we went out again obviously and we are now super happily married 10 years later (having moved in after 1 year and then married the next year.).My point is if both of us had thought ‘oh boy I should get out’ we both would have been wrong. Because of ‘the lever’. The important assigned to some event that happens early on.I have another example to illustrate ‘the lever’. When I moved into a new office condo many years ago it was located next to a school field. On the first day some parent comes to the door with their kid and wants to use the bathroom. I thought ‘oh boy this is going to happen a lot wow’. Well never happened again in 9 years (and then I moved). My point is imply if it happened after 7 months as an isolated incident (and ditto for what happened with my now wife) I wouldn’t have even batted an eye. Because there would be a history of positive.This doesn’t invalidate what you are saying. But it’s often dangerous to think that it’s a simple as ‘I should have done X’ when that is not always the case.So here is my counter example to my example. Another girl that I went out with I had early signals on the third date that there was something wrong. But I stuck (what you are saying) for 5 years in that relationship thinking it was just the way it was. Even the girl who cut my hair (who knew a great deal about me) said ‘you need to bail from that relationship it’s not normal. I stuck it out. I was wrong. I should have given more credence to the signals that I was reading.