“Never run back to what made you start running.”
9 Word Story
In a consensus driven business world we seem to loiter around the worst of ideas and situations … with a good intention to try and resolve it <before starting to run> … and leave any real opportunity to run away to too late.
By the time we start running we are stuck or overcome.
I will never suggest running blindly away from something <because you may actually blunder your way into a worse spot> but there are absolutely some things that make you run.
I tend to believe we do it in business for a variety of reasons but let’s go back to what most parents teach their kids … the idea that you should never run away from your problems.
You stick them out no matter how difficult or uncomfortable because, in life, you can’t run away from something just because you don’t like it.
Well, having received my share of business scars, I respectfully disagree.
While I respect the lesson and I certainly respect the fact the lesson instills a “fight before flee” mentality … it is wrong to never run away.
Sometimes you have to quit things.
Sometimes you have to run away.
Sometimes you try something and it doesn’t work out and it would be a waste of your time to try stick it out.
Sometimes you are faced with something you should run away from rather than stand and try to fight.
Sometimes it takes more guts to quit something than to keep doing it.
And sometimes running can mean life or death <survival>.
Running away does not guarantee increased ‘easy’ nor is it generally liberating <because if it makes sense to actually run you are usually too busy running and not running blindly> but sometimes a situation is so bad that running away is the better option.
And sometimes you need to start running sooner rather than later … unfortunately … we tend to not run soon enough because falsehoods <or attractive false results> run faster than truth.
This often encourages us to stand and fight … or just stand and ‘do shit because it has worked in the past‘ <as most business people do>.
This feeling surely gets compounded by the infamous “stop running away and live life” philosophy constantly pounded into our heads. In other words … if attractive falseness is the weather of the day that bad idea careening toward you doesn’t look as bad and it gets tougher to convince someone you are not just running away for the sake of running away.
I’m not sure why, but there is this perception that all running away <except with grizzly bears> is equal — in other words … all running away is bad <and, yes, there are degrees of bad>.
The conventional wisdom always states that running must be running away from something which, on the face of it, is humorously true … but the truth of it is that most people associate that with some lack of ability to stop and face what you need to face.
“Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it, so that when Men come to be undeceiv’d, it is too late; the Jest is over, and the Tale has had its Effect.”
Jonathan Swift wrote in 1710
I say all this because the business world <and Life I imagine> encourages us to believe that standing and fighting <not running> is the appropriate thing to do 99.9% of the time.
No wonder too many businesses don’t run.
Business circumstances are always reflection of choices that we have made and habits that we have held onto … and you can get consumed by a situation if you permit all those things to drive your behavior.
The other side of this ‘consumed coin’ is that by staying you get sapped of whatever good, or great, you have to offer and certainly lose the necessary energy to flee & run if and when you finally realize you had better star fucking running.
John Adams once said … “Facts are stubborn things.” I would also suggest truths in business are fairly stubborn things.
It is a common idea in business that running away is a bad thing <and the corollary … eventually running back if you did run away is inevitable>.
You are not only supposed to stay in place unless you had some fantastical reason to do otherwise <like a business version of a grizzly bear> but you are also supposed to stop as soon as possible and go back <because the assumption is you shouldn’t have run in the first place>.
In business, people who run are viewed suspiciously. They can even be viewed as dangerously weak business people. Rarely, if ever,do surrounding business people view running away as a positive thing and therefore almost never find the good reasons and positive learning that can be found in the behavior.
That said … I have run away from an idea. I have run away from a larger competitor <begrudgingly I may add>. I have run away from a project, a job and even a promotion.
I can honestly say I have never run back to what I started running away from and I can honestly say that I have learned just as much from running away as I have from staying ^& fighting.
In fact … I could argue that the combination has better honed my business instincts and decision making.
We don’t talk about running away in business often. Maybe we should. Okay. Let me be clearer. Yes, we should talk about it more.
I have seen far too many businesses and business people stay and fight simply because that is what they think they should do <with bad repercussions>.
I have even seen far too many people who have gone back to what they ran away from because , in their heads, it seemed like that is what they were supposed to do <with bad repercussions>.
Sometimes you should run away in business. And when you do? 99% of the time you shouldn’t run back to what made you start running in the first place.