Last night, in Springfield, MO, a city councilman handed in his unexpected resignation because he wasn’t elected the mayor pro tem. Not only was the loss an issue for him, but in a statement to reporters he expressed that he could not believe that he received fewer votes than the two running against him because… they had a bankruptcy in their past.
Hang on. First of all, the mayor pro tem is similar to Barney getting to act like the sheriff when Andy heads up to Mt. Pilot for the day. It is purely ceremonial and as prestigious as being elected line leader. But to have your entire argument of defeat hinge on a financial indiscretion that millions of people must endure every year… come on.
Further digging revealed a more human and less idiotic side to the story, however, that makes me feel bad that he couldn’t come up with a better argument. The former councilman, Ralph Manley, is 84 years-old, a long standing civic volunteer, decorated World War II veteran, and a recent widower. Mr. Manley is tired and ready to have some of his life for himself and saw this defeat as a time to speed his exit from public service. Who can blame him.
The issue that pops up for me is that he had obviously stayed too long. With two years left on his current term, he had admitted to friends that he was unlikely to finish the full run. Ready to step down, something didn’t go his way, and he broke. Maybe just a little, but he broke all the same.
Now, the last image of a man that should be celebrated for his citizenry is of him walking out of council chambers, embittered, and sounding like a cry baby. Too bad.
How many of us have stayed, or are, in a situation that is no longer serving us or us serving it. Do we dread certain things about our days or find that we aren’t performing to our fullest because our hearts are not in it.
When our hearts lead our heads out of full participation in something, seldom does it end well. Worse than a bad ending is when something bad doesn’t end at all. The job from hell or the relationship that is poisoning everyone around it. In each case, we have to make some hard decisions. “Is what I’m currently dreading worth having?” “Is the thing that is wrong with the situation me and can a shift in my emotions make it better?”
If the thing isn’t worth having, make a change! It sounds harsh, but the age old definition of insanity applies here. Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.
If the job isn’t worth keeping or its ruining the good parts of your life, figure out what you really want to do and make a plan to do it. You would be amazed at how much of a difference some clarity makes. What do you want? I mean want it so bad it makes your guts hurt. Get really clear about how it would look and then go about your everyday with that intention in your mind. If you work as efficiently as possible everyday with the intention of your desire firmly planted in you, even at a job you hate, you will begin to notice things that can make that desire a reality. When you notice those things, act on them and you will meet with uncommon success.
Or, keep being miserable. If you know you don’t want to be somewhere and you keep going back, feeling trapped or like you will let someone down if you pursue your heart, you will continue to be unhappy and unproductive. It is like putting spoiled milk in the fridge and going back day after day thinking it will get better. Something has to change and that change starts with you.
Perhaps now that he has vacated his seat, ole Ralph Manley can get on with the life he wasn’t enjoying. He is a great man and citizen and I wish him, and you, the best.
Be your best,