3 things you're avoiding that's draining your energy

written by Erica Quam

I've noticed a pattern that's come up with a few coaches I've talked to recently. I'm curious if you can relate?

Read through each hypothetical situation below and consider what you would do.

Note: Don't think too long. There are no right or wrong answers. Choose the letter that best describes your 'go-to' mode. (And...be honest.)

1. You're walking down the hall and see someone...at the other end of the hall...who you really don't want to talk to. What do you do?

Do you a) avert your eyes, find something interesting on the floor, pick up the pace and walk briskly walk by...like you're in a hurry b) duck into the closest restroom...and hope they don't come in c) pull your phone out and pretend to answer an important call d) suck it up and begin the conversation...awkwardly or e) none of the above? 

2. There's a big decision you need to make by tomorrow. What do you do? 

Do you a) go workout, turn up the music and try not to think about it b) go home, tune into a new Netflix series and numb out with three more episodes c) stay at the office late, like you're "really busy"...frantically checking emails, facebook, instagram...or working on something that's not due until next spring d) lie down in bed and stay wide awake stressing out about it all night or e) none of the above?

3. There's a conversation you know you need to have to resolve a conflict. What do you do?

Do you a) vent about it with someone you can count on to agree with you to collude with b) rehearse lines in your head over and over again until you think it's perfect c) ignore it assuming it'll eventually just work itself out d) tackle it head on without considering the ideal outcome or e) none of the above?

What are you avoiding?

What are the things you avoid, put off, hide from, wait on, and ignore? Maybe it's your brain secretly hoping these things will simply go away. Maybe you think you're actually protecting yourself - by staying within your comfort zone. 

There's one big drawback to avoidance behavior. You stay stuck.

When you don't deal with things directly, you can't reach your full potential.

(You might be thinking...yeah, but I'm so busy, overwhelmed, or overtired...I don't CARE about reaching my potential. I'm just trying to get through each day!)

Here's the deal though...when you avoid, wait, or put things off that you know you need to deal with...you're actually wasting more of your time and draining your precious energy. Even if you're not consciously thinking about it...you're brain knows what's going on. Your brain keeps an ongoing tally...and sometimes wakes you up at night to remind you there are things you need to step up and deal with.

Avoidance Inventory

  • What 3 people do you avoid?
  • What 3 decisions have you not made?
  • What 3 conversations have you not had?

Take three minutes right now to take an avoidance inventory. (What's the worse thing that could happen if you tried this...right now? It'll only take 3 minutes). Circle the ONE thing on your list that drains you the most. What's ONE action you could take to address it instead of avoid it? What's the ideal outcome you would want? 

Now, how do you feel?

You may find a sense of relief...just by writing it down and getting it out of your head. This step alone will free up space in your brain. When you avoid, you look over our shoulder. You stay in your head. Your brain gets occupied by what if's, not now's, & lots of worst case scenarios. There are SO many direction to go and places to hide.

Why do you wait?

Rather than get down on yourself...the reality is we all do it! So, don't be harder on yourself...than you already are.

Instead, get curious! Ask yourself, "what am I waiting for?"

Often, we wait for things like perfection, permission, certainty, rescue, or discovery. Can you identify the common thread amongst these five waiting traps? All of these things place the power where you DON'T want it to be. 

OUTSIDE of you. 

Flip the switch

Flip the switch from avoiding to attracting. Take back your power by creating a new habit. Begin to deal with things directly - starting right now.

Follow these 4 steps instead:

  1. ACKNOWLEDGE - become aware of what you're avoiding
  2. PLAN - identify one small step you can take to 'move the needle'
  3. SET - an intention for what you want to happen...what's your ideal outcome?
  4. ATTRACT - begin to attract a whole new set of results in your life

The Benefits

What you resist, persists. If you don't learn how to deal with the things you avoid, you'll continue to be presented with more of those people, situations, or opportunities...until you do.

Take responsibility, step up, and begin to handle the myriad of things that come up - on your team and in your life - rather than avoid them. This is a leadership issue. When you become aware of something you're avoiding...you're actually being presented with an opportunity to be clear, take control, and continue to grow as a leader.

What's the one that drains you the most and what's your one next step? Share for some accountability and support from this community in the comments below.