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When The Horse Is Dead, It's Time To Get Off

When the horse is dead, it's time to get off may seem like advice taken straight out of the Stating The Bleeding Obvious Handbook, but you'd be surprised how often I find myself encouraging mentees to do exactly this. Some even loiter around the fetid, putrefying carcass, desperately awaiting signs of life; so it's not so bleeding obvious after all.

Now I've loaded you up with that beautiful, life affirming imagery, I shall make my case. Those of you who know, and have worked with me, are fully aware that I never advocate quitting. Even the word quit makes me shudder and wince. In fact, one of my often repeated phrases is: “Do not quit. Do. Not. Quit.” So how exactly do I reconcile getting off this 'ere horse, that has ceased to be? Surely I am contradicting my own advice? Admittedly it would appear so on the surface, but I'm not. Let me explain.

Quitting is to leave, vacate, evacuate, abandon or desert – all decisively permanent by their very definition. When you attempt a thing – whatever your thing might be – it reluctantly fails and you quit; decisively and permanently from ever attempting a thing again, this is the definition of true failure. But it's not what happens to you that matters, but rather how you respond (not react – there's a difference).


So your metaphoric horse is dead. It is an ex-horse. I am now, of course, referring to your plan, goal, dream and/or business venture, for the avoidance of doubt. Realistically, what can you do with something that has passed its sell by date in this way? Your only choice at this juncture is acceptance. Accept this particular version of your thing is no longer viable, quickly move on to the next, whilst applying your newly acquired knowledge and lessons in the process. This isn't quitting, this is learning and constructively moving forwards – there's a difference.

Of course, you do have free will, so you're welcome to remain firm in your “better the devil you know than the devil you don't” stance, but it won't stop the rot. I would prefer to encourage you to take all the lessons you can from what has happened, and create new opportunities for yourself, but then I am a mentor, and that's what I do. At the risk of channelling Kenny Rogers singing The Gambler:

You got to know when to hold 'em

Know when to fold 'em

Know when to walk away

And know when to run

Good grief, how many mentors “sing” Kenny Rogers to you?! I'm not even sure that's a marketable quality you know (as I sing like a bags of cats being slammed against a wall), but I digress...

Oftentimes people don't even realise the horse is dead, and continue to flog it relentlessly, because it's all (they think) they know how to do. These self-limiting beliefs can be challenged and questioned. These self-limiting beliefs can be reversed. All it needs is for you to acknowledge there's a problem, and to allow support, guidance and assistance to flow towards you. You just need to open the gates and let the help in. You'd be surprised the lengths some people will go to, to not face what's real and painful for them.

The brutal truth is all that you deny or ignore, you delay. All that you accept and acknowledge, you conquer, but I understand this can be no less than terrifying for some. So why not let me help you? I promise not to sing - and even if I did it'd more likely be Bruno Mars than Kenny bloody Rogers!

If you'd like some help with whatever it is you're dealing with right now, from an entirely unique perspective, then please give me a call on 01536 601749, or email . Alternatively you're welcome to drop me a message via my Contact Form, if you prefer.


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