Changing Direction is Not Lack of Direction | #Leadership #Career

Changing Direction: Be Open to It! It’s Not Lack of Direction.

Changing direction and being adaptable don’t mean you are flighty and lack focus. Roads branch off into different paths and some of those paths reconnect. Along the way you develop versatility and agility. Both prepare you to handle what life and work throw at you.

Changing direction: Image is humanoid w/ 5 arrows diverging.

Changing direction is not lack of direction. Image licensed from

Image licensed from

Changing Direction: Don’t Mistake It as Lack of Direction!

As I read change blogger Alli Polin’s post 30 Life Lessons Learned, lesson 19 stopped me in my tracks: Goals change as you change.

I immediately reflected on how often changing direction is mistakenly seen as indecisive or retreating from a challenge. It is risky to think this way. Success requires agility and changing direction is essential.

How and why did this mistaken belief get started?

  • High need for control and decisiveness drives some people to label changing direction as bad.
  • People’s frustration of dealing with sudden changes brings them to rationalize change as bad.
  • Traditional values about “settling down into a job/career” linger even though it’s not bad to change paths.

This mistaken belief shows up in …

  • Teams with highly decisive leaders who crave control
  • Coaching with coaches who drive instead of coach
  • Young entrepreneurs in start-up mode
  • Your own mind during moments of uncertainty and insecurity
  • Mentors who forget the experimenting they did
  • Parents whose teenagers/young adult children want to explore very different lives/careers than they did

For real long-term success, it is better to see changing direction as:

  • The exceptional ability to move without losing momentum
  • Sharp vision of new information
  • Openness to business and life changes
  • The sun rising or light bulbs coming on
  • A chance to show courage and grow
  • Great leading, mentoring, coaching, or parenting

That leaves us then with one nagging question. How do we know when to persist on our current path and when to adapt and change?

Persist when you see potential; change when you see futility.

Exercise: Make notes for one day of all the times you see changing direction as weak and indecisive. How did this affect you or others around you? Consider what could happen if you saw changing direction as positive? You may be surprised at the results!

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Essential People Skills Mindset: Adapt to Close the Gap
Leadership Lesson to Lead Change: Speak Obvious Truths
Leadership: Consistency & Agility Are NOT Enemies

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Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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4 Responses to “Changing Direction is Not Lack of Direction | #Leadership #Career”

  1. Jon Mertz says:


    Careers are stories containing different chapters. Some chapters go on for many pages (years), and others are short. Overall, our careers tell a story, and we need to ensure we are working toward one that has meaning and uses our talent fully. Appreciate your points here. Very key to anyone, no matter where they are in their career story.


    • Kate Nasser says:

      Love your story/chapter analogy Jon. It is so very true. I knew in my first career that it was the wrong one — I knew in 3 months and moved on. Had I fallen into the trap of thinking I had to stick it out simply because I had chosen it, I would have wasted precious time that I applied to my new career.

      Many thanks,

  2. Alli Polin says:

    Thank you for this, Kate. Your last sentence sums it up beautifully and I hope that people read it until it sinks in that changing direction is not failure. Changing direction is leading forward down a path that holds possibility that is greater than the present.

    Also, as a coach, I appreciate that you point out the harm of rah-rah directive coaching. You can do it! Keep on going! Don’t stop! Do this! Oftentimes my clients need to stop and take stock. They also need to do an honest analysis of where they are and give themselves permission to shift. Coaching that holds the course but doesn’t allow for change ultimately hurts our client’s success and happiness.

    Will share!!

    ~ Alli

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Many thanks Alli. Your expansion on the topic of coaching rings true to me as well. I think that sometimes coaches mistake themselves for hard driving personal trainers and fall into the trap of — as you say — “Don’t stop, keep going!” I chuckle when I think back to an aerobics trainer that yelled that in my ear years ago when I took a break. My body had told me to stop and I did. In the end I pinched my sciatic nerve and was out of commission for awhile. Listening to our own inner voice and following it is key.

      Grateful for your input here,

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