Like most “normal” people, I don’t like going to the dentist. I’m not sure if it’s the past painful visits, the thought of a painful visit, or the pain of the bill that’s coming when I’m done. Truth be told, I don’t like going to the doctor either. And for that matter, I don’t like going through airport security. You know how they make you lift your arms inside the 360 x-ray machine while they “look for hidden weapons”, I just don’t like it. And, what these all have in common is an uncomfortable invasion. Dentists, doctors, and TSA personnel are all invaders of the same kind. This makes many of us dread the thought of any of these because we just don’t want to be invaded until you think of the alternative.
It’s all about perspective
I’m not a “safety at all costs” kind of person. Freedom is worth some risks within reason. However, have you thought about what it would be like to travel via stagecoach? I’m on my way to Orlando to keynote a conference which will be a 2 hour and 45-minute direct flight from Milwaukee. If I was traveling via air-conditioned car, about 16 hours. Stagecoach would be 3-4 days of bumpy roads, every kind of weather, and unmentionable flies, mosquitoes, and whatever other kinds of animals along the way. That would stink big time (deodorant wasn’t exactly a mainstay during that time). “Are we there yet?” could easily be, “I hope we get there.” This reframing puts the inconvenience of travel perspective.
As leaders, we don’t want to be invaded. Many business owners don’t want an accountant to review their books or a business coach to identify their operational shortcomings. I haven’t been to the doctor in a long time because I don’t want to look at me and find nothing or something (either is just as bad in my head). I know my body is falling apart (early onset O.L.D., see previous blog), so I don’t need someone verifying that it’s falling apart. But, greatness cannot operate this way.
Some invasions are for our benefit
We need competent and objective outsiders to give us honest feedback about what’s working and not working. As uncomfortable as this invasion may be, this allows the leader to make strategic decisions and most importantly avoid known mistakes before they happen. We can never avoid all failures, but taking calculated risks is strategic. Ignorant gambling is deadly.
So, thanks to my wife, I go to the dentist regularly to let them uncomfortably invade my mouth. But, in fairness to you guys, I haven’t gone to the doctor as she has advised me several times to do over the past two years (I’m just being honest). I know I’m a work in progress. But, I did get an outside organization to review my marketing plan, so we could take the next leap as an organization. Yep, comfortable being uncomfortable.
What invasion have you been avoiding knowing it will help you achieve your next success?