You Have to Know When to Walk Away

By Kay Caldwell

A leader, by definition, is someone who can pursue, conduct, escort or direct, encourage and above all influence. I have never read a job description that says a leader should reject, degrade, ignore, discourage, disrespect or break the spirit of an individual. Yet, sadly, I hear of the latter description more often than not.

I have been working with a friend that has been suffering with a “boss” who ignores her. She hears from her only if she doesn’t like something. She and I have been discussing her situation for more than a year. I thought about it so much this week that I actually dreamed about it.

My dream was about a woman who had all these things thrown at her. The items were in various sizes, shapes and chaotic. However, when a friend showed her how to put them in order, the pieces laid around her in a circle. The shapes were like lady finger sugar cookies surrounded by little marshmallows. Once the items were in order around her, it was the image of a beautiful flower and was peaceful. In the dream the woman wondered why she never saw it before. Out of chaos something beautiful can happen if you put things in order. The key is what does “in order” mean for you?

My friend is loyal. The boss was put in the position a little over a year ago. My take is that there is no positive energy between these two people. My friend is talented, intelligent and successful. She has tried all the basic coaching techniques for building a relationship. She has been met with rejection. I advised her it is time to look at what is right for her. What would put her life “in order?” She may need to consider a transfer. She doesn’t want to feel like a quitter. It is not quitting if you determine after you have done all you can to make things better to determine you may need a change, a change that could bring happiness. I told her you must be the change you want to see in your world.

I shared with her a verse from an old song by Kenny Rogers. The poet sings about a card game and a gambler. The verse says, “You have to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, know when to run. There is plenty of time to count your money when dealing’s done.” The song is really about life. Life is a gamble. Most of the decisions we make each day are out of habit or are mundane. The decisions that affect your career are not. In a poker game, “when you hold them” you know you have a winning hand or you are holding out for a “bluff,” which means people think you have the winning hand. “When you fold them,” you know you have no chance of winning and are willing to take a chance on a new hand and even accept a loss. If you “know when to walk away,” you know you have won as much as you can or you walk when you can stand no more losses. “When to run,” you know some cowboy is about to pull a pistol out and shoot you because of your looks. In other words there is no chemistry between the two of you. You are smart enough to know to run!

A poker game is a risk but so is life. Your job, a love life, or simply walking across the street is a risk. But when you cross that street and the Krispy Crème donut awaits you, wasn’t it worth it? Your life is not a stalemate which is a situation in which further action is blocked. It is a poker game that you have the power to control your losses and move on.

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