This post from Roy Tennant regarding Fighting the losing battle really hit home for me as I am constantly feeling as if my department (which is fairly new and no-one is sure what the hell to do with us) is fighting battles every day…. some of which we win, some of which we lose and still other which we should have never gotten involved in in the first place!
But what I loved about his post are these sections:
I have fought losing battles in my time, and some of them I would fight again even if I knew for a fact I would lose. Sometimes the important thing is that you fight.
Meanwhile, not all fights are created equal. There are times when you will be on the wrong side and you should cut your losses and get the heck out. Knowing which is which can save you a great deal of time, anguish, and regrets. In the likely forlorn hope that I can help you avoid the lost battle you shouldn’t fight and properly identify the lost battle you should, here are some of the lessons I’ve learned from my battle scars, posed in the form of questions to ask yourself:
- Are you fighting alone? I remember a time in elementary school when we were asked to determine, without taste, smell, or feel, which of two piles of white crystals was salt. I made up my mind and took my place by one pile. I soon found myself alone, or virtually alone, as others decided to defect to the other pile. I, however, could not be swayed by these defections. I was strong in my conviction and the lack of support did not concern me. So which one was it? I was standing by sugar. On that day I may have begun my life-long tradition of disregarding the crowd, but not every such event was one of honor. Some, as this one was, were indefensible. There are times when you may think you have the courage of your convictions when you actually are simply stubborn.
- Is the issue something that strikes at the very core of your beliefs? I’ve been on the side of many losing fights in my life, most of them political in nature. But one for which I will continue to despair for the rest of my life is the fight to save the Stanislaus River. We lost, but the fight helped to define each one of us who fought to save it. Besides, it was this fight that brought me to my wife-to-be, and we celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary this year. Now that was a fight worth fighting. There are times when people may think you are simply stubborn, but you will continue to fight with all you have until you can fight no more.
- Is there something more important you could be doing? A fight that you may wish to leave behind is one that takes your time and attention away from something more important. What might this be? Only you can decide. There are times when you get distracted — the only error is to not correct this distraction in a timely fashion.
I can but agree with Roy – I have not been working as long as he has, but I too have fought for some things simply because I was too stubborn to listen (and will probably continue to do so now and then).
And the fights that I will fight for again and again, even if I am alone will always be those that go against my core beliefs of: fairness, equity, kindness, humility and helpfullness. For those I will fight tooth and nail.
But perhaps his last one is the most important – if it is not in my power to change something perhaps I should move my fighting spirit elsewhere …