What do you do when you believe that someone you care about is on the wrong track?
Do you tell them what you think? Do you try to guide them in a more suitable direction? Or do you just stay quiet, decide it is none of your business and let it go?
As a friend and colleague it is a fine line. You don’t want to risk losing that relationship forever by having the frank conversation and here’s a thought, what if you are wrong? Yet, to say nothing seems irresponsible and uncaring.
And if it is one of your children, then sorry, as a parent, right or wrong, I am usually compelled to give my two cents worth even when it is not welcome.
Regardless of the relationship, maybe the answer is to start a conversation and just listen. There may be an opportunity to subtly introduce a thought that prods the person to revisit their direction. Sometimes I find that what I am sensing is what the other person knows deep down but hasn’t been able to articulate and often from the outside looking in we can see so clearly what is happening, or perhaps what is not happening.
I certainly find with new business owners, they start off in one direction and as time evolves and they learn more about their marketplace, they begin to switch it up and find their niche, which can take time.
But the bottom line is that it is the person’s life and they need to choose their own path, even if in our eyes, they are destined to be disappointed or to fail. We also cannot overlook the fact that we may not have the whole picture. We may not be aware of what else is happening within the family or what has happened in the past to shape that person.
I guess I have answered my own questions. The answer is to be there, to listen and nudge if appropriate or asked what we think, and if you really care, stick around to catch the person when and if she falls.
But knowing myself, that is easier said than done, especially when I am in rescue mode. So note to self, take my own advice. Back off and just be there.