We’ve all been here before:
Driving in rush hour traffic. A car cuts in front of you without signaling. You have to jam on your brakes to avoid a collision. Then you hammerfist the horn to let that (expletive) know how you feel. At that point, you probably collected yourself and thought something along these lines:
I bet he had a bad day. Traffic like this would put anyone over the edge. I should give him a break.
Maybe it’s his daughter’s birthday, and he’s really trying to get home for the party. How sweet.
You offer a friendly wave.
No. That’s not how it went down at all.
What you’re thinking in that scenario is probably not fit for print, but to summarize, I’d bet it’s an instant and absolute burial of the driver’s worth as a driver (or as a person!).
Now think about this situation:
You are trying to get your daughter to soccer practice. You get her in the car and drive to the field, talking with her about the school day. Then, minutes from the field, she realizes she left her cleats at home.
Your pleasant mood sours as you realize you are going to have to drive her all the way back home and then back to the field. You quickly pull a u-turn to find yourself at the back of a line of cars moving at a snail’s pace, backed up for hundreds of yards because it’s rush hour and there’s a traffic light ahead. Your mood further darkens:
How can she forget her cleats again?! I reminded her right before we left. She’s too old to keep doing this!
Your thoughts bubble over and you let her have it.
Her shame plus your anger causes her to burst into tears.
That just makes you madder, and instead of comforting her, you yell at her to stop crying.
Move people! Learn to drive.
You decide you can’t wait for these cars. Knowing you have to turn right at the light, you sneak into the shoulder and ride it up to the turn. Several drivers beep at you angrily for not following the rules of the road as they are.
If they only knew the afternoon I was having, they’d understand and make way for me…
Right. Sure they would.
Why do we do this?
When others wrong us, we instantly judge them and assume a character flaw is the reason for their behavior.
When we wrong others, we consider the circumstances and justify our behavior.
Obviously, this applies to many aspects of life beyond driving during rush hour.
We see a mom red-faced and yelling at her kid for misbehaving at the grocery store.
Some people are simply not cut out to be parents. Who would treat their child like that? Disgusting.
Then the memory of blasting your daughter’s doors off for forgetting her cleats surfaces. We instantly shift to the rationalizations.
I was in a hurry. My girl knew better. And at least I did it in the car. I would NEVER do that in public.
Rationalization achieved. The angry mom is bad. I am good. No more cognitive dissonance.
What we SHOULD do here is drop everything and apologize to our daughter. Say sorry for overreacting. Sorry for yelling. Sorry for not comforting her when seeing how upset she was. Sorry for missing the point and not realizing that her mistake actually allowed for MORE time with her to talk about her day in the middle of another hectic week.
If you’re reading this and feeling convicted, then good. I actually had to stop while writing this and apologize to one of my kids for something I’d mishandled last week.
We all make mistakes and come up short.
That is NOT the point of this post.
The point is whether or not you are willing to right the wrong. Make the behavioral change rather than rationalize your current (bad) choices.
This will sting, but this is why you’re reading this post. You are not where you want to be in your business. Excuses and justifications are holding you back.
You are stuck, and you need help. And you have rationalized your way into staying stuck.
Are you ready to stop with the excuses and do what it takes –WHATEVER IT TAKES- to take your company to the next level?
Click below for some free training on how to get started: