- posted in Leadership
Sometimes telling the truth is just the beginning. Sometimes when we know the truth about what needs to be done, we are also the ones who have to get off our butts and do something about it.
One day I was driving home and singing along to one of my favorite songs on the radio, feeling peaceful as I contemplated a relaxing evening. Then, as the garage door opened, I stopped singing. Something dreadful loomed in front of me. It had been sitting there for months gloating at me. I’d seen it maybe a hundred times before, and I knew what needed to be done. Yet I’d done nothing. As if it would somehow fix itself, over time; like the problem would just go away by ignoring it.
It was a lawnmower with a broken wheel. The day I’d first discovered that broken wheel, I’d told myself, “I need to fix that wheel.” Then I thought, “I’ll fix it later.” That was more than six months earlier, and now my nemesis had become so powerful it had silenced my song and darkened my mood. I had turned my lawnmower into an incomplete in my life, and incompletes rob me of creative energy.
How many of us can relate to this scenario? In a way, it seems silly doesn’t it?
I’m talking about things you know you need to handle, yet resist handling. Sometimes we’ll deal with the gnawing discomfort of procrastination for months, rather than deal with 10 minutes of “have to.”
But make no mistake, when you put things off that you believe must be done, it steals the joy and creativity from other parts of your life. Why? Because your better Self keeps track of your internal promises. I knew I hadn’t fixed that broken wheel, and every time I saw it became a subtle reminder of a broken promise to myself.
Here’s the terrible truth about things we don’t want to do that have to be done: if we’re waiting until we feel like it, we’ll never do it. I most likely will never wake up and say, “Today, I feel like fixing the wheel on that old lawnmower.” Meanwhile, when you’re waiting to feel like taking care of that one irritating item, a slew of others will follow on its heels, until the weight of all you’ve left undone threatens to make you feel so overwhelmed you don’t want to do anything at all.
When we resist completion long enough it leads to numbness, inertia, freezing up.
Let’s get real about the simplest yet hardest thing that leaders do. Leaders complete things. Leaders do what they say they’re going to do.
I finally told myself that lawnmower would not fix itself, so I had one of five choices: 1) Decide I don’t give a hoot about the broken wheel, 2) Buy a new lawnmower, 3) Pay someone to fix it, 4) Figure out how to fix it myself, or 5) Do nothing and continue to feel frustrated every time I walk into the garage.
I chose option four and fixed it myself. Take a guess how good that felt!
I am not suggesting you should fix all the broken wheels in your life, unless you want to.
When taking action, that’s an important thing to consider: Do you want to? Once you know that, it’s easier to complete the task. When you ask yourself that question, remember to consider the consequences if your option is not number four: How will you feel if you do nothing? Are you willing to live with that?
Whatever you do, do yourself a favor, don’t wait until you feel like it to deal with the stuff that you believe needs doing. And let’s get real about the time element. How long does it really take to fix a broken wheel, or to handle most of the incompletes in your life? In most cases, not long!
I spent many more frustrating moments not fixing that stupid wheel in my head than it took to fix it in reality—all of 10 minutes.
What incompletes are you avoiding?
Here’s some motivation to help you pick one and move on it: Incompleteness creates chaos, but completion releases energy and creates freedom and builds velocity in life and business. And it just feels good.