“I’m not good enough.” “I need to be perfect.” “I need to be in control.” “I will avoid confrontation at all costs.”
We all have them. They’re still there haunting us from our childhood nightmares. They are the boogeymen (or boogeypersons if you prefer) of our youth. They are self-limiting beliefs. We all have them, and as adults we continue to confront them every day.
They show up all the time, and we pretend that they are not there. They frequently appear as the important tasks that we constantly avoid. They are the item on the top of our to-do list that rolls over each day to the next without ever being completed. They are the product we keep talking about building that never goes farther than talk. They are the difficult conversation we avoid with an employee, a friend, or a spouse. They are the great idea we know is a winner but are scared to pursue. They are the boogeymen of our youth and they cost us dearly.
To sleep peacefully without worrying about the beast under our bed or the monster in the closet, we need look under our beds. To perform at our peaks we must vanquish these demons. We know they’re there and yet we whistle past the graveyard, pretending not to notice. Eventually we’ll have that difficult conversation. Many times, we allowing an issue to fester and grow larger and more difficult to resolve than if we had taken action when it first popped up on our radar screens.
So here’s what I ask today: What action are you avoiding right now that you know you should be doing, and why? Here’s the difficult part, because I am asking that you dig deeper than the symptom. It’s time to stop playing whack-a-mole. You know that game where moles keeps popping out of the hole and you whacking them back down with a mallet?
Just attacking an issue you constantly find yourself avoiding is whacking a mole. That’s what you’re doing when you finally have that difficult discussion with an employee after avoiding it for two weeks…BAM whack that mole!
The problem with whacking a mole is that you don’t have a mole problem, you have a grub problem. When you keep attacking the mole you’re going to keep avoiding the difficult source of the recurring issue. If you only have that tough conversation you’ve been avoiding without working on why you kept letting it slip, it’s going to happen again.
You see, if you don’t get rid of the grubs in your yard, you’re going to have to continue to play whack-a-mole. You have moles, because they love to eat grubs. Kill the grubs and no more mole problem. The problem isn’t this one difficult conversation. That’s an issue, not a problem.
The problem is, why do you avoid the uncomfortable?
So what’s your boogeyman? Is there something in your past that created a fear of failure? Is there some coping system you developed in childhood that programed you to avoid the difficult, uncomfortable situations?
Attack that boogeyman, kill the grub, and perform at your peak.