Get Off The Wheel!
By: Laura Posey


When I was a little girl my next door neighbor had the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. It was a cute, furry little hamster. He lived in a big plastic world full of tubes and tunnels and interesting little hideaways. The amazing thing about this creature wasn't how cute he was or where he lived, it was how he behaved. Every day of his life the little hamster would crawl out of oatmeal box he slept in, shake himself all over, and head over to the metal wheel attached to the side of his cage and start running. He ran for what seemed like hours as fast as his tiny feet would carry him, never getting anywhere, but seemingly content nonetheless. I would sit and watch him, wondering why he never crawled through his elaborate hamster-world (and discovered the hidden treats my friend hid for him), preferring to run endless laps on his hamster version of a treadmill. As a child, I never could understand that critter.

As an adult, I think I finally get it. I see the same behavior in salespeople (and others as well) every day in the human world. So many of the salespeople I meet get up each morning, put on their suit, head to the office and start the endless round of calling, setting appointments, making sales presentations and starting the process all over again the next day. They are running on their sales-wheel.

The thing that kills me about this is that so many of the people I meet don't want to be on the wheel, but won't get off. Day after day salespeople come to me and tell me they want to make more money, close more sales, have more free time, etc. They know they want to stop running to nowhere but they don't know how to stop. I always tell them the same thing to do- stop running, take a look around you, pick a new direction and start running someplace else. In a word I tell them to change! That's the point at which they falter and run back to the wheel to think it over.

How many times have you thought to yourself that you want something different in your life? How often have you actually done anything about it? That's the challenge we face as human beings. We are creatures of habit, just like our little hamster, and we resist change. We know what we know, we do what we do and anything different is hard for us to incorporate into our lives. We are comfortable on our wheel and even though it takes us nowhere, we run on it because it's safe and known. If we got off the wheel and redirected our activities we'd be forced to confront ourselves and our limitations, our fears and our dreams. We'd have to think, to open our eyes and actually become who we are capable of being.

Not everyone is up to that challenge or cares about changing. And that's okay. Really, it's okay. You don't have to be anything other than who and what you are now if you're really happy or comfortable with your life. It is alright not to change. If life is good enough for you right now, make a conscious rededication to yourself and tell everyone who wants you to change to jump off a bridge. Stop beating yourself up about not changing and be content with things the way they are, but be honest with yourself and others in your life. If you don't want to change, don't pretend that you do.

If you aren't happy enough or you do want something else, make that same conscious decision to do something about it. Even a small change is positive and will help reform your habits. Get off the wheel, look around and start walking in another direction. Learn to explore the tubes and trails of your world and you'll most certainly uncover hidden treats at every turn. Don't allow excuses or other people to dictate your direction. Make your own plan and live by it. Tell everyone who will listen about your plan and they'll help you remain accountable to yourself.

Life is too short not to be who you want to be and have what you want to have. If you are happy where you are, stay there and stop pretending you're going to change because other people think you should. If, however, you're not living the life you really want, then change things; no procrastination and no excuses! Get off the wheel and run free!

2004 Laura Posey. All rights reserved.

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