You can’t stop a runaway train, once it leaves its tracks, there is nothing that you can do. You know how it will end – there will be damage and debris and some things will perish. All you can do is clear the area where you think the trajectory may end wait for the train to stop, assess the extent of the damage, and then begin the clean-up.

In the last three weeks, the train left its tracks, and I am watching and waiting to see where it will end.

I’ve gone through the shock of the derailing, the frustration of acknowledging that I am powerless to stop it and the anxiety of trying to predict the fallout. Now, I accept the futility of these emotions, and that they are misplaced since I do not own the train.

The derailing is not my choice, it is not a change that I planned for or predicted. This will have a huge impact on me and so, because of the importance that I placed on the train it began to invade my thoughts, take over my conversations and diverted my focus. So I had to get quiet and stop.

Whatever the train represents to me will be gone and I mourn that. I grieve the train for what it was, it was a vehicle, it was a source, it was a tool, it was a resource, and it was a means. It gave and generously provided for me and in many ways it changed my life. I am grateful for the train, the beneficial experiences, the new thoughts that were generated and the new knowledge that I gleaned.  I enjoyed the ride and I will miss the luxuries it afforded me.  I realise now how much I adored that train and the high value that I placed on it. I confess that my thoughts about my personal value increased while I rode the train ( even while accepting the notion as false).

Now I’m back to facing the truth.  The truth is that I existed before the train, and I will still be here after the crash. The train does not define me and it does not establish my value. The plans and decisions that I made while on the train remain valid. My desires for myself remain intact. I will walk away from the wreck, with new experiences, new knowledge and different perspectives. I will walk away from that wreck valuable, and whole. I will walk away from that wreck knowing that the train was an experience and another step in my life journey.

What is/ was your train?  What happens (ed) when it is/ was derailed?

Maxine Attong is the author of two business books – Change or Die – The Business Process Improvement Manual and Lead your Team to Win. She is a speaker, coach, Organisational Development consultant and of course an accountant.



One thought on “Train-wreck

  1. That analogy of a train wreck is so fitting to me right mow that it has me all teary eyed. The one bother with my situation is that my train wreck is within me and therefore I have no escape from the consequences which most likely will be negative. I cannot leave the train, since I have been here all my life. The thoughts and dream I have will definitely go down with my train since they are part of me. My one consolation is that while riding this train I pray and trust that I may have made a positive influence on those I came into contact with. I no there are many who will rejoice in this train wreck, however I am not concerned since I will not be there to experience their negativity. Moral of the story, beware of which train you ride on, or if there are signs of problems get off the train before its to late.

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