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August 11, 2010 / jasonpinto

Running from the Vortex

Alright, it’s a party-time! (At least in make-believe land.)

We are at some sort of social function — perhaps it’s a summer cookout or a winter dance-off (wait, no one else goes to those?).  Across the way, there is someone that we’ve never seen. However, before we approach them and strike up a conversation, a friend warns us: “do not talk to that person! They are just a vortex. If you start talking to them, you will never find and exit and you will miss the rest of this party.”

Yes, we’ve all been in situations like that.

However we don’t always run away, or avoid starting a conversation with the vortex. Maybe we think we see something special (an opportunity!). Thus, we give it a try, and then we are lost for the night.

The same thing may happen to us when it comes to certain work-related projects.

Maybe there’s a prospect that asks us to do something for them — perhaps, a “small-favor”. While there is nothing wrong with loss-leaders and favors, there are many cases where our gut tells us to not commit to certain ones. Perhaps we were burned by a similar experience in the past. Or maybe there’s a colleague that warns us we might be headed down a path that we’ll regret.

However, our eyes sometimes see something that we cannot turn away from — opportunity! Perhaps we start believing that “small favor” could pay big dividends to us down the road.

Far too often, the thing that we give into, or the opportunity we chase, turns into a vortex. Not only do we give the favor, but we give more than we ever bargained for. In fact, all the time we lose in the vortex means that we lose even more time on other valuable projects. Projects that may have even provided more value to us in the end.

The lesson? Listen to your instinct. Sure, it won’t always be right. But as we pile up experience, and we learn how certain individuals and companies work, our mind can help us to form decisions that are fairly well educated.

When a vortex gets us, we never come out the same.  So, when you see one, run the other way!

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