IMG_8286A friend of mine was recently sharing how she was really successful in an area of her life that she had no passion for, no excitement. She wanted to focus on a different area where she felt exhilaration, joy and honestly some fear because it was not as well defined and secure.

I shared with her a phrase I adopted over a year ago when I was in a similar situation, “Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.” The words of the phrase may seem simple, but supporting it can be a whole different story.

It is very comforting when there is something in your life where you feel successful and even appreciated. It may be an area where it seems so easy and natural, sometimes as if you could do it in your sleep. And because people excel in different things, you may find that this talent is useful for others for whom it isn’t so easy. It can be everything from being the one who coordinates the neighborhood get-togethers, to scheduling vacations, to your job.

So when evaluating the choice of whether to stop providing the service, guidance to others or doing the job, it can be hard to walk away. That’s when the phrase comes in handy.

“Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.”

Since I have adopted this phrase it has been useful in a number of ways. For myself, when I am feeling insecure about a path I am taking and the choice comes up to step back into my comfort zone, these words help me keep moving forward versus giving up. I keep a neon pink stickie in front of me in my office as a constant reminder.

The phrase has become useful for others I speak to as they too struggle with the choice to move away or shift focus from their sweet spot. I know for a fact that a number of individuals I have shared this with keep a stickie with the same words at their desk (color of their sticky is unknown).

If there is something you want to pursue, but you keep being drawn back into your area of expertise because it is comfortable, easy and honestly sometimes lucrative give it some thought. Or if it is something someone keeps asking you to do because you are good at it but you don’t enjoy it, consider respectfully declining.

Maybe it isn’t the right time to jump full into a new direction. On the other hand maybe it is time for you to step forward in a new direction. Remember, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

What is something you do well and have either shifted away from doing or are considering refocusing elsewhere?