Who’s Really Driving Your Train?

9 Nov

Have you ever been railroaded? You know, pushed into doing something that you really don’t want to do or agreeing on something you really haven’t had time to think about. It happens to everyone, but how you put an end to it depends upon you.

During a very busy stage of my life I saw a quote that said, “If you want something done, ask a busy person” and at the time I thought, “How true.” I had three kids, volunteered at multiple places in the community, at church and my kids’ schools. It made me feel needed and important and I said, “Yes” to everyone who needed a helping hand.

But, at some point, I began to take a look at what I was being asked to do and how it affected my life. Friends were asking me to pick up the pieces of their projects when they dropped the ball, I’d jump into something with little notice because my friend needed help, I’d volunteer to work for an event that turned out to be completely different than what was presented to me. I did them all because I didn’t want to let my friends down and it’s important to me to finish what I started.

Fortunately, this time of reflection opened my eyes to see that I was being railroaded by people who really weren’t my friends. They knew if they presented something in a certain way or in a time of desperation, that I would agree to help them no matter how busy I was.

After learning this big life lesson, I’ve learned to not get railroaded any more. Now, when people ask for my time, I’m happy to help if…

  1. It doesn’t interfere with my family
  2. I have time to think it over
  3. I respect the person who is asking
  4. It’s a project I believe in
More importantly, I’ve become proactive about how I give my time. I’ve learned to ask people how I can help before they ask me, take on only what I can manage, and say, “No” when it’s not a fit for me. I’m still as busy as ever, but it doesn’t feel overwhelming any more and I have plenty of time for my family.
If you’re not driving your train right now, it’s time to find out who is and make sure that you aren’t getting railroaded.
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