Attacking The Storm

 

Crying Baby

 

When you have kids, at certain times throughout their lives you must take them to a doctor to get shots for different things. As the tougher parent (most days) I remember it being my job to take our first baby girl in for shots around three months old. Obviously she didn’t know what was coming and we were able to go in and do it very fast. The only thing I had to deal with was the “how could you” looks and about 5 minutes of crying then all was good.

Compare that with six years later and the child has been informed that a shot is due later that week. Now the world is about to end. The impending brutality that she knows is coming practically paralyzes her with fear. She gets sick thinking about it.

Then comes the dreaded day and it is met with pleading and begging then kicking and screaming. Ten minutes are spent just trying to remove her from the car to go into the doctor’s office. The whole thing has become a dramatic event.

I know it is just a shot but to my child it could be a guillotine. Her mind has built it up into something fifty times worse. And prolonging it outside the doctor’s office has only made it harder.

At least we grow out of this, right?

I will venture a guess that I’m not the only one that still wants to hide from pain every now and then. In fact I should probably just admit that I don’t like doing the hard stuff. If it can be put off, my nature is to want to do just that. Part of growing is to be aware of this and plow through whatever it is I’m facing before I have the chance to procrastinate.

One of the books I’m diving into right now is Take The Stairs by Rory Vaden.

I first heard about Rory when he was on Dave Ramsey’s Entreleadership podcast.┬áThe episode he is on has to be one of my favorites of all time. Rory addresses self-discipline and avoiding procrastination.

He tells a story about the difference between buffalo and cows. In Colorado when a storm comes over the mountains the cows will move along ahead of the storm trying to avoid it. What happens is the storm catches the cows and therefore they remain in the storm for a longer period of time.

The buffalo act totally different. When they sense the storm approaching the buffalo will turn and run directly at the storm. While there is still pain, by running at and through the storm the pain of lasts a much shorter amount of time.

To many times we act like cows. While trying to avoid conflict or struggle, we end up maximizing our exposure to it. By ignoring or running from problems the pain many times will become compounded.

Problems that are procrastinated on are only amplified, and we’re the ones who pay the price.

If we want to be successful in our lives, we must become like the buffalo. We must turn and face the tough stuff head on. Attack the storm, knowing that we will be through it faster if we do.

Nothing will suck the joy out of life more than walking around with the burden of knowing you need to face something painful but keep putting it off. When you do face that storm and get to the sunshine on the other side you wonder why you didn’t do that sooner. What a relief it is to have that gone.

Here are a few things that help me.

  • Schedule time to do the hard things first.

Get that hard sales call out-of-the-way first thing in the morning before you make the hourly habit of putting it off. Answer the complaint someone has sent your way before you stew about it all day. The beginning of each day is usually when we are most alert, strong, and thinking clearly. As the day goes on and we wear down, so does our resolve.

  • Imagine the worst case scenario.

How bad can the outcome really be? For me, things I tend to put off are calling or visiting a potential customer. What am I afraid of? The worst that will happen is they say no and I go on. I am not going to die. They are not going to yell and berate me. I will be fine. So even the worst case scenario is something I can handle.

  • Understand the risk of inaction.

I know this will seem silly but if you haven’t noticed yet, I hate calling people. The course of my life was almost changed by my running from this small storm. When I was 18 I had dated a girl over the summer and then she went to the east coast for college. I managed to call her a few times, but then I went for a week without calling her. It seems stupid, but I was so nervous and scared to call up this gorgeous and amazing girl that I would put it off for days. I felt sick about it. She felt like I didn’t care about her. Eventually she gave up on me and moved on.

It wasn’t until almost three years later and a little push on her part that we got back into contact and I didn’t screw it up this time. Thankfully we did end up getting married and just celebrated fifteen years together. But my procrastination cost me three years of dating her and very easily could have cost me my perfect mate.

 

So as scary as it is, I know for me I have to run right at that storm every chance I get. Get through the hard stuff and get that weight off. More will come but it is so much easier to attack the next storm when we are not running from the current one.