Twelve years ago, I became the first full-time employee of Creative Restaurant Solutions, Inc. I worked with the founder, Morreen, for over six years, growing the biggest exit interview program in the country, building many other surveys and contributing to training and leadership development programs. We had a lot of ups and downs during those years, due to upticks and downturns in the economy, countless changes in staffing, and all the challenges that come from running a small business, yet it was a terrific experience.
In 2011, I decided it was time to move on and I accepted a new position. This new job provided me with amazing growth opportunities and allowed me to meet some fabulous people, yet its challenges were even bigger than I expected. After a few years of frustration and intense stress, I started applying to other positions. Meanwhile, CRS had flourished while I was away, yet needed a strong leader for the growing survey division. Morreen caught me off guard at lunch one day about two years ago by asking me to return to CRS in an expanded role.
My gut reaction was, "No way. I could never go back." It just didn't make sense. I left CRS with no intention of looking back. I'm an "onward and upward" type of person. I had always thought it strange when people returned to a previous employer. Wouldn't that be so awkward for everybody involved? Weren't we better off just leaving it alone?
Fortunately, even during that long lunch, I began to reconsider my position. I thought about how much I had changed during my time away, and how much I might enjoy the opportunity to take something I had helped build years ago to the next level. Over many lunches and dinners in the next several weeks, we talked and talked and talked things through, and I decided to take the job.
I have been so grateful I changed my position on "going back" every day since. I love my job. I love my second-time-around relationship with my boss. I love my clients. I love my team. I can't imagine what life would be like if I had held onto that "never go back" position.
I've been thinking about other ways I've changed my position over the years, both big and small.
As a relatively picky eater, I knew I wouldn't like avocados. Then I tried one, and now eating guacamole is one of my favorite pastimes. (Same story for sushi.)
For years I swore I'd never get on Facebook. Now every time a memory of my kids from 5 years ago pops up, I'm so grateful I did. And I wish I had gotten on sooner.
On a far more serious note, in the mid-90's I thought homosexuality was unnatural and rare. Then I met some people from that demographic and realized they were far more like me than they were different from me and they deserved the same rights I had. And I became an advocate for the LGBT community at my conservative college.
While there is something to be said for strongly held principles, and I have many of them, there is also something very rewarding about being open to new information and experiences.
What positions do you need to reconsider?