I was taking a friend’s dog on a walk today—Dukes, an 80-pound doberman. He’s lean, muscular, and filled to the brim with energy. The entire time he pulled hard. I was worried that one of my neighbors would see me and call me a wimp because of the way he was moving the ground under my legs. Most of the time I gave him some slack until I needed to catch my breath or make sure my right hip was still in its proper, anatomical place. But no matter how strong his alpha spirit was, I still governed his speed and direction with a simple, firm tug of his choker chain.
After I got home, I wondered how many of us want to go full speed toward what we really want… but just like my friend’s doberman, are subdued by a choker chain and some jerk on the other end of the leash. We’ve allowed them to be our masters who choose our path, speed, and which side of their feet we’re supposed to obediently trot on.
If we don’t want to let other people steer our lives, what can we do?
- We can bite their ankles and flee. I wouldn’t recommend this tactic because it can be hurtful. It might even ruin the relationships between you and other people you care about. Drop the people that drain you, but do it in a gracious way.
- We can find people who are a better match. Identify what values are important to you and seek out people who share them. You might be surprised to find that you already know a few people that match what you’re looking for. If you don’t know anyone, start being the person who you’re trying to attract. Last, be bold and reach out to potential mentors—successful people might be stingy with their time but many of them love mentoring the ambitious and hungry.
Whatever you decide, know that it is your choice and you can take however long you please. Don’t let other people rush you into making a decision—no matter how much they genuinely care, they only know a small part of everything you’re considering.
There’s a lot at stake. You could end up living too many years restricted to the pavement when what you really wanted to do was race through the open field and maybe even goof off a little before peeing on a fire hydrant.
Until next time cheers to removing the choker chain and finding out what matters most to you,