Mad at a Turtle

James Prashant Fonseka
2 min readMar 4

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A sure strategy for failure is expecting people to change. You can forgive yourself for not immediately understanding a person’s strengths, motivations, and weaknesses. It often takes a while to get to really know someone along these dimensions. But after sufficient time, the excuses begin to fall away. After working with or knowing someone for years, you know who they are. And at that point if you get frustrated with them for being who they are, it’s on you. I realized this after a meeting with my executive coach this past week.

I was expressing my frustrations with someone, meekly as I have long been feeling like a broken record. A broken record is starting to feel like the soundtrack of my life. I know that I am complaining, or if not quite complaining, somewhere along the spectrum that eventually becomes complaining, about someone, and I have the power to control the nature of the work or relationship with that person, the responsibility shifts to me to make adjustments to that relationships. My executive coach made that point succinctly in telling me that it sounded like I was mad a turtle for not running. Touché. Game, set, match.

The lesson is clear. A turtle will never run. It’s a turtle, it’s slow. If I’m mad a turtle for not running, I’m an idiot and the turtle is a turtle. So, no more being mad at turtles. Either accept them for being slow, or move on. If you need fast, look elsewhere. Expecting people to change is foolish and being made at them for not changing makes you a fool. Don’t be a fool.

Also, get an executive coach, they are great. While they can be very expensive, my portfolio company Outpace is making coaching accessible for everyone, so be sure to check them out.

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