Sometimes there is no next time

Have you ever been sitting in some sort of a meeting – whether at work, church or some other gathering – and you get that feeling that you should say something? More than a feeling (no, I’m not going to start singing the classic Boston song), it’s an urge. You need to say something.

Maybe it’s an idea that you know they need to hear. It will help someone; you know it will. It helped you, and now you want it to help someone else.

Perhaps it’s a radical new idea or strategy you’ve learnt about, and you can totally see how your employer could benefit from using it. But, well… they don’t really tend to listen to your ideas. They’re not the sort to embrace change or try new things, even though the “old ways” are clearly not working anymore.

There’s a purchase you’d like to make because you can see how it’s an investment, really. But it’s a lot of money. And what if you need that money somewhere down the road?

And on and on. We face decisions like this almost daily. And yet, what do we do most of the time? We wait, and think, and wait some more, and research, and wait, and… oops! The moment’s gone. The train just left, and you’re still on the platform.

Someone else took the microphone at church, and changed the context, and the little confidence you had has now gone.

At work, the meeting is over, and you quietly stewed but said nothing.

Whose fault is that? Someone else’s? Yours?

I’ll bring it up next time, you think.

I’ll get another shot.

I’ll buy that thing the next time I see it on offer.

But sometimes, there is no next time. Sometimes, we get just one shot at doing something, and although we might not feel the immediate ramifications of our actions, if we had done something, we might have started a chain reaction that could have seen lives changed, including yours. Maybe that sounds too big. Ever heard of the Butterfly Effect (not the time travel version, film buffs!)?

Maybe you saying something in that meeting was the 20th time your boss needed to hear you to realise that you’re actually the sort of person he needs working on a new project, or taking over leadership in a department.

Maybe, if only, what if?

Sometimes, there is no next time.

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