There is a scene in the movie “American Gangster,” where Frank Lucas, played by Denzel Washington, visits his Vietnamese heroin manufacturer the last time. The Vietnam War is about to end. The troops are coming home. Lucas has been flying heroin to the United States on military transports hidden in coffins. He wants one last major purchase.
He and his Vietnamese counterpart are standing on the porch overlooking workers tilling poppy fields. There is a sort of reminiscing quality to the encounter as they talk about the good old days. Here is the feeling that over the years, they became friends and are sharing one last moment.
Lucas wants to continue the relationship, but his counterpart knows it will come to an end. At that moment, the Vietnamese man says, “You know, Frank, quitting while you are ahead is not the same as quitting.”
The tides roll in, and then they roll out.
You can swim with the river, or you can swim against it.
Eventually, if you swim against the river, you will drown.
When I started coach training, one of the most uncomplicated and most helpful comments I heard was that, often, what makes a great coach is the person s/he works with.
You may have all the answers and all the techniques but will have minimal effect on the person changing because they have more resistance and everything in your toolbelt.
I’m reminded of this by my wife trying to help her sister recover from depression. We believe Covid has induced it. Her sister has lost a lot of weight, finds it difficult to feed herself, and certainly can’t work. Medical tests have found nothing wrong, yet there is something wrong.
For my wife, quitting is not an option. She is helping her baby sister, now age 55. She is trying to help her family. Quitting shouldn’t be an option, although planning for the end of may be.
There are times to know the difference between giving up and quitting while you’re ahead.
Life offers us many lessons, reminders, suggestions if we pay attention.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2021
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, Amazon and Roku, as well as on BingeNetworks.tv for Apple TV and 90+ smartsets.
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