“You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em...”
Does this song lyric sound familiar? It will to some of us who remember Kenny Rogers' #1 hit from 1978 simply titled "The Gambler" that took Nashville by storm and eventually crossed over to the pop charts. Although this ballad was written in the context of playing poker, little did the songwriter know that "knowing when to hold 'em and knowing when to fold 'em" is the BEST stress management advice ever, so thank you, Don Schiltz, for your wise counsel! The song goes on to tells us to “know when to walk away, know when to run,” which is more great insight on life and stress.
What are the events or people in your life to which you can apply this song's sage advice? Here are some topics you may want to take a moment to reflect on, become aware of:
Knowing when to hold ‘em is standing up for what you believe in, not letting people walk over you. It also entails living your life according to your principles and priorities. Nothing is more important. The fold ‘em part of the equation is protecting yourself from events and situations that are out of your control. A friend who drains your energy each and every time you talk to them - always on the take; a dipper never a filler. A co-worker who doesn’t take responsibility for their actions. A family member who refuses to listen. When you begin to understand that you can’t change people -- only your response to the action or situation -- you give yourself permission to “walk away, and know when to run” perhaps as fast as your legs can carry you!
You are tired, drained from a long day, yet you feel the need to push yourself to get one more email answered, one more task completed, one more phone call made. This is when you need to “fold ‘em” and “walk away” not later because at this point your productivity and creativity are waning. Do yourself, your loved-ones, and your employer a favour and power down your computer and turn off work for the balance of the day so you can return refreshed and energized the next day. Here are some other suggestions for maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
When I’m helping people design their careers and create life goals, I often remind them that life is not linear, it can be two steps forward and then a step to the right and two steps back. Perhaps that’s why it’s often called the “dance of life.” Knowing what you want is a series of trial and error and success. As we grow and change, so do our values and attitudes. What once captured our curiosity and interest no longer has the same effect. Being aware and knowing it’s time to move on…let it go…”fold ‘em” is giving yourself permission to move forward with your life and go after your new goals and dreams.
Remember: You are the creator of your life! It's never too early (or late) to get a game plan in place to take you where you want to go.