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You Need New Pants

Close up of denim with a ripped area, white threads horizontally covering the torn area with a frayed edge.

We all have that one article of clothing we refuse to get rid of, even when it makes us look exceptionally disheveled or destitute when worn in public. Recently, my husband told me I need new pants. Picture the scenario…You walk into the kitchen wearing pants from 1997. Pants that were too big in 1997, and now the elastic waistband is so beat that it doesn’t work and you have to roll the pants waist to get them to stay up. You love these pants because they go over other pants and shorts and you don’t have to take your shoes off. Your significant other, who is sitting in a chair at the kitchen table, holds out their hand to you (you take their hand with trepidation), looks at you in earnest, and says “You need to get new pants. The elastic doesn’t work anymore.” You bust out laughing and reply, “It’s so hard to find pants that go over pants.” They reply, “Yeah, it’s really hard to find them when you’re not actively looking.” Ooh, burn.

It occurs to me as I write this that these pants (from when I was on the Penn State Equestrian Team in college) are twenty-five years old. That’s a long time to have a pair of pants that don’t fit. It also occurs to me that I (and we as leaders) sometimes go along with the status quo, even when situations or people don’t fit or aren’t good for our organizations.

For me and my pants situation, I realized that there were several things holding me back from getting new pants. First was spending money, as I am notoriously cheap when it comes to buying new clothes. Second was time. Finding pants that fit me takes more time than I wanted to give. Third, I was secretly hoping the pants’ elastic waistband would miraculously fit.

Sometimes we miss leadership opportunities because our reasons are really excuses (let’s be real…none of my “reasons” are valid!). It happens to all of us. As I’ve said before in other blogs, this is where having an outside perspective comes in very handy. The other person notices our sticking point, and we then have to do the self-reflection to identify why. Unless we take the time to identify and verbalize what is holding us back from making a decision, we’re going to stay stuck and lose out on positive outcomes and things that bring us joy.

Once I started looking for new pants, I found several great options, one of which is a burgundy velour jogger that I adore. Thanks to the conversation with my husband, I was finally open to alternatives, which is often what we need to see new possibilities and avenues for progress.

Not all changes are this easy, painless or cost effective, AND they’re worth it all the same.

Questions to ponder:

● What (if any) changes do I need to make in my life or work that I’ve been avoiding?

● What are the positive outcomes of making this change?

● What is one step I’m going to take this week to make this change happen?

Stay curious friends!

Make sure you’re listening to season one of the Dream Big Authentic Leadership podcast, found on Apple, Google, Spotify, and Stitcher.

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