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I know three people who've been offered promotions during the past month. One accepted it, the other two didn't.
Not accepting a promotion is hard. The big boss trusted those people enough to offer the jobs. That's very flattering. And who wants to be the one to let the company down?
I'm sure all three wrestled with their consciences, considered their hopes and dreams and skills. And I think that the two who turned the promotions down would have managed just fine in the new roles—in my opinion, even better than the one who actually ended up accepting.
But here's the thing. Getting promoted makes your family proud. It gives bragging rights. Maybe you get a more impressive title. More responsibility. More money.
Knowing all that, declining a step forward is a brave thing to do. It means weighing the facts, analyzing yourself. These two people looked at all that would be expected of them and, not only what they had to offer, but what they wanted to offer and said, "No, thanks."
Some people might write them off as scared. I don't. They've stayed true to themselves. Maybe put their families ahead of their careers. Maybe made "a less stressful life" more important than "getting ahead."
These two people are not the only cases that have impressed me.
I know a man who was a butcher (safe route, because everyone has to eat, right?), then decided to buy a grocery store (entrepreneurial) and finally settled into farming (love of the land).
I know someone who worked as a high-paid business consultant and threw it all away to start his own vacation adventure business.
And I know several people who went back to school despite being firmly entrenched in their jobs. They were absolutely passionate about a change.
As for me, I started to work part-time when my daughter was born. She's eight now, and I get asked constantly when I'm coming back full-time. I'd earn more money. Maybe get promoted.
But now I've begun writing. Those extra hours available before the kids get home allow me to create, revise, network. With writing, there are no guarantees. But I'm sticking with it because it's right for me.
How about you? Do you have any great examples of someone making a decision that's hard for others to understand but is the right one for them?