By Sunny Simon

I just returned from a girlfriend’s getaway weekend. It was an extremely enjoyable time spent shopping, sightseeing and swapping life experiences. We often lingered over lattes or evening cocktails catching up on the latest news involving careers, families and mutual friends. Over the years the four of us developed a deep bond and mutual respect. As our friendships run deep, it is common during time spent together to share dreams, reveal fears and solicit opinions and honest feedback.

One afternoon Carol related a recent life lesson. Her husband, a motorcycle enthusiast, encouraged her to share his passion and surprised her by having a new Harley-Davidson delivered to their home in New Hampshire. Within days Carol had her first riding lesson and became licensed to operate a motorcycle.

My friend Carol is a gutsy woman who loves life and outdoor activities. She is an expert skier, a certified scuba diver and an avid hiker. Carol adores her husband Jay and loves spending time with him. The problem arose when she discovered their joint motorcycling outings were far from what she expected. After enduring each ride on a white knuckle basis, she felt physically ill from stress. Carol is no cream puff. As a positive thinker she envisioned her fear and anxiety would diminish. However, after each outing the angst only increased. Eventually she was forced to make a tough decision. The sport was not for her, and this meant quitting.


Her story holds a much overlooked life lesson. Many of us are so focused on being winners. Repeatedly we use mantras like “failure is not an option,” to pump ourselves up. In my coaching practice I encourage clients to face and conquer their fears. But Carol’s motorcycle story stopped me in my tracks. It made me realize sometimes the prize is just not worth the effort. It does not make us any less of a winner when emulating Carol’s actions. Sometimes the wisest course of action is to call out uncle and hang up our helmet.

The moral of the story is we do not have to climb every mountain put in front of us. There are times when the prudent thing to do is go around it, or turn back and take a different path. One final thought when opting out of a challenge, do not label it defeat. Move on, and do so with dignity.

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at