CEO Coaching: How Long Do You Want To Suffer?

After a recent family picnic, I walked back to my truck and found that someone had keyed the driver’s side. Four panels. Because it was low and looked like the “pictures” my 3-year-old granddaughter draws, I assume it was a child. 

Several months ago, someone scratched the other side. The body shop, understaffed like everyone else, took a month to complete the work. So I was naturally mad as hell.

After two weeks of dwelling on this every time I drove the truck, I went to the body shop. The estimator carefully looked at all four panels and picked at the scratch with his fingernail. He then excused himself, returned with a wet cloth, and…wiped off the scratch! It turns out that someone had apparently drawn on it with something rather than scratched it. If I would’ve taken the time to look at it a bit closer, I could have seen this as well. Sheesh! What a dope!

A week later, I was talking with a coaching client about a problem he had. (In his case, not really a problem, but rather a decision he was avoiding.) “How long do you want to put up with this?” I asked him.

As an aside, let’s define a problem as “a deviation from expectations that you don’t know the cause of that is important enough to be concerned with.”

Looking at problems from a distance and stewing over them is something I’ve seen myself, as well as my clients, do many times. Sometimes they’re problems, and sometimes they’re really decisions that we don’t want to make. Regardless, they don’t fix themselves (or decide themselves). We spend too much time distracted when we should focus on something else, and often the problem gets bigger, or the decision gets harder.

There’s a process for problem-solving that works brilliantly (send me a note and I’ll send it to you) and talking through a decision with a colleague or coach can achieve clarity quickly. Avoiding the work or decision leads to continued or increased negative thought and other complications.

I’m sure you’ve experienced the relief of finally dealing with an issue you’ve been stewing about and wondered, “Why the hell didn’t I do that earlier?!” I’ve observed this many times with clients and felt it too often myself. 

So, what issue are you avoiding right now? How much longer do you want to suffer?