… and Winners Never Quit!
I actually heard the words “I guess I have already given up and am mourning the fact that we are going to lose everything nice in our life and have accepted that fact, you know,” this week. It stopped me in my tracks because as they said this, I had just been thinking about more than a dozen ways that they can get back on track while she had already thrown in the towel in her mind and was just waiting to be crushed in real life. Sadly it made some things very clear to me about why they wouldn’t change or embrace any idea that wasn’t theirs and had not been listening to sound advice.
This is not the first time I have seen this type of defeatism. Sadly it is more common than you know and is one of the number one reasons why people fail in parts of their life including relationships and business. See, this person has been fighting for over a year to keep their head above water, fending off bills and collectors at ever turn and “trying over and over” to make things work. In her mind there was no way that she could possibly succeed because she “has tried everything”. The reality of this is that actually the trap that most people fall into is that they have tried “everything” that they know, or that they are comfortable with. Time and time again, I have heard statements similar to this (never quite as ominous) and yet these same people who are at their “wits end ” with their situation still refuse to, or fight you the most aggressively with any suggestions that you give them. Even though what they are doing isn’t working, they fight tooth and nail. Even though you are the professional and have taken dozens if not hundreds of businesses from this spot or worse into success, they will refuse to even try your suggestions or will give you a million reasons why it will not work. even worse, sometimes they deflect and say that we did all these things and ended up here. This is where psychology meets business.
The reality is that this person is caught in a triangle. A triangle of “what I know and am comfortable with”, what “is new and scary or unknown and requires change”, and “how they act and make decisions out of fear and anxiety“. I remember a story my mom and oldest sister, June Storey Stading, told me one day when I was a kid. They told me a story about how there was a barn fire one time and the horses would not leave the stable and ended up burning to death! This never made sense to be until June told me that the horses “felt safer” in their stable than they did on the “outside” when they could smell danger (fire) and that their only hope wast to be blindfolded and led out of danger by their owner. These horses perfectly represent what I see everyday in the “comfortable” zone of the Trauma Triangle. Even thought it was clearly getting too hot to handle in the barn, the horses would not leave because “they know this place” or that the comfort they felt outweighed the fear of venturing out doors to possible safety. Are you doing the same thing in life and in your business? Is it too hot to handle and yet you wont listen and change?
The next area that causes issues for people is the “unknown”. This area usually overlaps the “comfortable” part of the triangle and goes hand in hand with it. For the same reason the horses would not leave the stable, we as people continue to do the same thing over and over even if our spouse, our parents, the neighbors, the therapist, or the consultant tells us different points of view or different things to try. Many people will not make the move ever. This is simply fear driven because the person in question is already in pain or discomfort or has lost trust or been hurt and “cannot possibly handle any more pain”. Tony Robins has a great quote for this very scenario. It goes “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” Sadly most people get to that pain point when it is way too late. In some lesser circumstances some people also stay in this stage out of pure stubbornness. Either way, it is pure foolishness and a sure recipe for failure. The last part of the the Trauma Triangle is “Acting out of anxiety or fear”. The worst business decisions and personal decisions that I have ever seen people make in their life can usually be attributed to this stage or part of the triangle. Decisions like taking a third mortgage on their home in cash strapped times, lashing out at those that are actually helping you, refusing to listen to advice and making crucial decisions that affect you and all those around you when you are panic stricken with fear. It is near impossible to make any rational and sound decisions out of fear and anxiety. These are the times that you need a clear and unbiased third party with an outside perspective. And you will actually need to listen and be able to steer clear of the other two legs of the triangle. Sadly, most people are unable to do so and stay inside the trauma triangle and “accept the fact they will fail and mourn their loss” when things are still able to be fixed. We encourage you to step out of this pattern of dysfunction at all costs.
The best closing advice that I can give you is to take suggestions from those that know better and have been through it before. Embrace change and eliminate the fear that comes with it. This requires that you make changes and plan in detail and maybe even get professional help with that in this area. Even if it means eating some crow or being humble. In the long run, you win and isn’t that better than losing and the stress that it causes? Lastly, eliminate safe zones and work on getting yourself to venture out and try new things regularly instead of always doing “what we have always done”. This is the biggest cause of failure and you can eliminate by being bold and taking safe risks and trials. If you want any more information or need to talk about this blog, feel free to contact us at email@example.com