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 these examples and choose the letter that best describes what you tend to do.
Note: Don't think too long. There are no right or wrong answers. Which one best describes your 'go-to' mode. (And...be honest.)
1. You see someone you’re having a hard time with…and you really don't want to talk to them. 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 clear up some major tension. 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 won't learn and grow as much as you would when you take a chance and deal with a challenge head on.
(You might be thinking...yeah, but I'm so busy, overwhelmed, or overtired...I don't CARE about learning and growing. I'm just trying to survive each day!)
Here's the deal though: when you avoid, wait, and put the things off that you know you need to deal with you actually waste more time and drain more of your precious energy.
Even if you don’t consciously think about it you're brain knows what's going on.
Your brain keeps an ongoing tally. It sometimes wakes you up at night to remind you there are things you need to step up and deal with.
Take a Quick Avoidance Inventory
What 3 people are you avoiding?
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).
Next, circle the one thing on your list that drains you the most.
Write down one step you will take to action instead of avoiding.
Then ask yourself, “What's the ideal outcome I want to happen?”
How do you feel now that you’ve gained this awareness?
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.
So, why do you wait?
Don’t get down on yourself for avoiding things. We all do it!
Instead, get curious! Ask yourself, "what am I waiting for?"
We often wait for perfection, permission, certainty, rescue, or discovery.
Can you identify the common thread amongst these five waiting traps? All of these things place your power where you don’t want it to be…outside of you.
Flip the switch
Flip the switch from avoiding to attracting. Bring back your power by creating a new habit. Begin to deal with things directly - starting right now.
Follow these 4 steps instead:
ACKNOWLEDGE - become aware of what you're avoiding
PLAN - identify one small step you can take to 'move the needle'
SET - an intention for what you want to happen...what's your ideal outcome?
ATTRACT - begin to attract a whole new set of results in your life
What you resist, persists.
If you don't learn how to deal with the things you avoid, you may find more of these people, situations, and challenges come up for you to deal with 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 grow as a leader.