We recently attended a Kenny Rogers concert. I couldn’t help but think that he needed to pay attention to the lyrics in one of his most famous songs and know that it was time to walk away. But I believe we all (myself included) have trouble knowing when it’s time to walk away.

Rogers has had a long and storied music career. He’s written and sung many hits. One of his most famous songs is The Gambler; it’s well-known lyric – “you’ve got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, know when to run.”

He’s a music legend, but sometimes it’s better if the legend stays in our memories as the great singer he was, not as the diminishing star he’s become. If it’s difficult for a legend to walk away, how much harder is it for mere mortals like me?

How many times have I lingered too long in a situation that was only getting worse because I couldn’t disentangle myself from the memories of how great it once was? I couldn’t begin to tell you. I’ve started programs that flourished once, but are coming to a natural end and I just won’t let them. I’ve hung on to people I shouldn’t have. I’ve made investments I should have sold long ago.

Rogers spent most of his concert – part of his world farewell tour – sitting in a chair. It was painful to watch him hobble on the few occasions he stood and moved about. He told many stories which were difficult to hear due to his thin voice. My husband said we should no longer go to concerts if the artist is that old. Rogers is 77. But we attended both the Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones concerts recently and they gave great shows.

So how do we know when it’s time to hold em, fold em, walk away or run? Maybe all it takes is a personal gut check. I just hope I’ll get better at it.