Face It

Responsibility eTip for January 2007 (get eTips emailed to you)

You think you have problems?
Image of rescued sailor's demasted boat
What about Ken Barnes, the rescued sailor whose solo circumnavigation attempt ended last week in a storm off the Chilean coast with his sailboat destroyed and taking on water? Asked whether he fretted before being rescued, Mr. Barnes calmly responded “there wasn’t time to think.” All he could do ‘was to face it and handle it.”(1)

Face it and handle it. Sounds so familiar doesn’t it? It even sounds cliche. We hear it all the time when people talk courageously about dealing with big troubles. Just face it and handle it. “Face your fears” is a common retort. “Just do it®” says Nike. “No fear” say extreme sports enthusiasts.

But we — you and I — routinely don’t face problems that we can evade or avoid. Now, that’s nearly impossible on a sinking sailboat, but it is surprisingly easy when avoidance is possible, for instance, when a customer relationship goes sour, when a plan fails, when you blow an agreement in an important relationship, when you have an accident or arrive late for an appointment, and so on, dozens of times a day.

Yet your freedom (from anxiety), and your power (to get things done) lies in facing it so that you can handle it.

The ability to face, rather than evade or avoid, problems is one of the Keys to Responsibility™. We call it “confront,” defined in most dictionaries as “the ability to face.” And surprisingly, it’s a skill that you can develop — just like a muscle — through exercise.

Responsibility Redefined Question
What current problems might you have a role in creating that you are avoiding (not facing)? And how is this keeping you from the freedom and power that you can claim and deserve?

Responsibility Redefined Skill-Building
Build big courage to confront in small doses (can you say Use it or lose it!?).

Select a series of relatively small problems to face, one at a time, and handle. For instance, clean up a white lie, stop telling yourself there are no calories in chocolate, apologize to your children for begging off a commitment to them, handle the nail-biting, master that piece of software, realize that aggressive drivers don’t live to torment you, etc. As you develop your power and freedom from these things, select larger problems to face and handle.

(1) http://www.suntimes.com/news/world/201591,CST-NWS-chile08.article
Note: Just do it is a registered trademark of Nike.

Posted in Responsibility on 01/09/2007 03:28 pm
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