This is a Test. Let’s Play.

Well, there’s been a momentous occasion in the life of Deirdre. Momentous, I say.

I quit my gym.

Those of you who know me will understand why this is such a big deal…that up to now my body-building hobby has actually been an enormous part of my life. Every single day of it. For years.

But now I’ve decided to make the physical activity switch from this indoor pose…

blog - fit

…to this outdoor one.

blog - canyon photo2

I realized I needed to change things up during my recent travels overseas, when my body took the opportunity to…well…sleep. A lot. For all of May, really. Clearly it had been overworked and under-rested.

Once I decided to leave the gym I desperately tried to figure out what would replace it…the class or the boot camp or the activity that would be the right fit now.

I wanted to pounce, to commit to something immediately, to get the decision behind me. But then I realized I didn’t know enough about what would make me happy.

And so I realized I needed to not figure it out. Not right away anyway. Instead, I needed to test…to explore my options, to show up at other activities. To play.

Not easy for people like me, who like to take care of business. Quickly.

Many of us, in fact, just stink at testing:

  • We lose or leave our job and then take the first position we’re offered immediately…instead of testing out what new challenges would excite and evolve us.
  • We decide we want a new artistic hobby and buy all kinds of expensive camera equipment immediately…instead of testing out which kind of art would energizes us most.
  • We have a bad break-up and find ourselves coupling off with someone new immediately…instead of testing out what kind of person would truly make us happy.

Why do we stink at testing? Because change makes us uncomfortable, and testing means we’re prolonging the situation by exploring lots of uncertain options.

We also stink at testing because we get nervous that if we don’t pounce on the very first thing, then the next thing might never come.

And, sometimes, really, we stink at testing because we just want the decision made and crossed off the list. We are quite busy after all.

We even stink at testing out smaller things like new ways to travel around town or new hair products or new people to lunch with. Instead we stick with what we know.

Having recently interviewed a significant number of pretty happy people for my latest project, I can tell you that many of them not only understand the need to test…they truly enjoy it.

They see it as their time to play. They understand they need to be patient, that making a quick commitment can be a missed opportunity.

They know tests don’t always work out…and that this is okay. In fact, it’s why we test in the first place. To see what works and what doesn’t before we commit.

Yes, sometimes we don’t have the luxury of testing. And sometimes we test for too long, and we just need to make a decision and go already.


There are lots of times when testing is the perfect way to help us figure out our next best thing, especially when we’ve convinced ourselves we can’t because of money or time.

We can. Even if it’s just for a little while.

We can step back, take a breath:

  • We can go on several interviews or see a job coach to determine our next career move
  • We can take a photography and a painting class to determine our next favorite hobby
  • We can date around to make sure we truly enjoy our next partner

We can take the time to try out a whole bunch of new physical fitness activities before deciding on the right new fit. That’s what I did.

And then, once I settled into the right next thing, nothing else mattered.

Not even the fact that the next class took place on a cold January morning…where we did this:

blog - in the water

This week…

Think of what you might want to change…what might make you happier. Then test it out.

Play. Take some time. Don’t be in such a hurry to commit.

And know that, in the end, testing is all just part of the fun.

Now go do good…and do it well.

(Note: special thanks to Gut Check Fitness, my new thing, for the use of these photos)


12 thoughts on “This is a Test. Let’s Play.

  1. Thank you for your insightful post today. I unfortunately see myself in much of what you describe. I will have to foster a new outlook on change.

    1. Deirdre Maloney says:

      Don’t be too hard on yourself, John – I think we all experience this now and again. Thanks for giving the post a read and good luck taking on change!

  2. Perfectly timed post. I’ve been testing for the last several months, and now I’m executing. The execution now will be much better than if I hadn’t tested. And… fyi – I just came in from a hike behind my property – just clearing my head for some amazing stuff.

    1. Deirdre Maloney says:

      🙂 Awesome Clark…good for you for taking the time (and having the patience!) to test. It’s not always easy and I’m so pleased it worked out for you. Happy hiking my friend. 🙂

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Intuitively I know change is DUE! Your post was the inspiration I needed to make it happen! Thank YOU!

    1. Deirdre Maloney says:

      That’s so terrific Elizabeth – glad it helped!

  4. Patty says:

    Thank you Deirdre for your great insight and experience. I agree. before I make a decision I have to go through the “information getting stage” kind of like “shopping around”

  5. Deirdre Maloney says:

    Agreed, Patty…shopping is just getting a sense of everything that’s out there BEFORE you buy…

  6. Dave G. says:

    Great stuff Deirdre!! Really enjoyed reading your insights. Thanks!!

    1. Deirdre Maloney says:

      Glad to hear it Dave – best of luck with your testing!

  7. Erica Johnson says:

    What amazing timing for your post! I’ve just decided to quit my job after 13 years and am planning a few months of “testing” myself! It’s a big decision, and a little scary, but I feel so exhilerated! I’m planning a solo road trip, a week long vacation to Florida, and lots of time to make a very deliberate choice for my next professional step 🙂 Thanks for all of your wonderful insights!

    1. Deirdre Maloney says:

      Well congrats to you, Erica…that’s a courageous and terrific move to make! Enjoy every part of your ride, including the testing. It’s time to play 🙂

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