I don’t watch a lot of television. I prefer reading. But in those rare moments when I DO take a moment to turn on the TV, one thing is for certain. If I don’t like what I am watching, I change the channel. No point in complaining about something that doesn’t interest me. No point in wasting time. No point in watching something that doesn’t make me laugh or teach me something new.
Why can’t we do the same thing when it comes to disrespectful clients, toxic relationships or unfulfilling careers?
Years ago I had a client named Cindy. She had come in to my client’s HR department like a hurricane, firing staff and suppliers in her wake. Fortunately for me, the Executive VP of Finance loved our company, so Cindy couldn’t get rid of me so fast. What neither party knew, was that I had never had a client like her. EVER. After three episodes of her outrageous outbursts, screaming at me and my team and falsifying information, I fired HER. I placed a call to the EVP, explained the situation and told him, very nicely, that we could not continue our relationship as it stood. I didn’t expect the company to fire her. I also knew (know) that time is money. It was clear that she didn’t want to work with us. Instead of hitting our heads against the wall, we simply changed the channel. We stopped calling her and moved on to new clients who wanted to engage us.
I have had similar situations with toxic “friends”. The kind of “friends” who expect an invitation to a party or event you are hosting and then never reciprocate. The kind who talk about you behind your back (and everyone else’s BTW). The kind who contingency plan, confirming a date and then conveniently cancelling because something better has come up or they “forgot”. Luckily, I haven’t had too many of these toxic “friends”. But when I find out who they are, I change the channel. Life is short and time is precious.
About five years ago, I was no longer passionate about vetting candidates through the big black hole of the internet. The up close and personal relationships I had forged took a back seat to RFP’s, PEO’s and other assorted acronyms. I get that. Business models change. I just wasn’t passionate about operating in that model any longer. When the game changed and I no longer loved what I was doing, I did what I always do. I changed the channel. Hundreds of teams and executives later, I am happily following my passion again. This time around as a communication strategist, author and public speaker.
Is it time to change the channel? What situation have you been in where you had to change the channel? I’d love to know. Comment below or feel free to email me at email@example.com.