“If you can’t accept it, change it. If you can’t change it, leave it.” Anthony Gucciardi
I recently came across the above quote and it summarised something that I have observed in my now 6 years as a freelance coach, coach trainer and supervisor.
Coaches often find themselves working with people who are unhappy or dissatisfied with the ‘status quo’ in their life. These people can be stuck in a rut, psychologically or for some other reason, perhaps they feel they are caught in a trap financially or stuck in a job they hate because it accommodates their personal life. What this quote highlighted to me that anyone in such a situation has three choices, and even if they stick with the status quo, they can do so having explored the other two choices, meaning that the status quo becomes an informed choice rather than a stuck position. So, what do these choices look like?
1. Change it
Change isn’t always easy but changing small things can be very powerful; having a mature conversation with the ‘difficult’ colleague about what you find hard in working with them (I had a colleague who insisted on drumming the desk next to me all day with his fingers and it turned out he didn’t realise he did it!) and discussing how you could both work together differently, could turn a sour relationship into a productive one. Looking for people who like the tasks you hate and may willingly take them on, can be a simple way to change the things that are causing you to be dissatisfied.
2. Leave it
If work really is that bad what is stopping you looking for another job? Coaching can help people to overcome the barriers that are stopping them and allow them to have the confidence to move to a totally new environment, maybe pursuing a long-held dream.
3. Accept it
You may find it hard working with a particular colleague or there may be aspects of your job that you’ve come to hate but in many cases there is truth in the phrase ‘better the devil you know’. So how can people learn to accept it? There are a range of options:
a. Explore the pros as well as the cons of the situation
b. Explore why someone chose to be there in the first place and what the other options are. This often results in people remembering what is good about their situation.
So what will you do? Change it, accept it or leave it? Could some coaching help you work through what are essentially three choices? Once these are broken down into three choices, the obvious choice can be easy to see.