It’s hard being me, at times.  I expect it’s the same for you (being you, that is).  One of my biggest frustrations is that there are certain things I do again and again which I know from bitter experience are going to cause problems.  Despite analysing them and working out a better way of doing them,  in the heat of the moment I let myself down.  And have done so for years.

To give you an example (and it also happens to be what I think is my biggest Achilles Heel):

I simply do things too fast.

In my eagerness to get things off my mental “To Do” list, I rush in headlong, and it lets me down big time, again and again and again.  It happened last week.  The brief was to remove a large shrub from the garden.  My wife had disappeared for the day, so I resolved to get it done before I started work so I could say “dah dah!” when she got back.

Not me.  That spade isn't big enough.

Not me. That spade isn’t big enough.

Out came the spade and the pickaxe (large, heavy tools, which produce quick and gratifying results, are popular items in my shed):  about one minute into the job I feel a twinge, and that is my back gone.  I spent the next 4 days shuffling around the house, hardly able to sit, stand, lie down even (kneeling was just about workable), popping painkillers and trying not to join my wife’s regular fits of belly laughter (because they hurt physically as well as emotionally).

I don’t have to go back far to find the same problem in a different guise:  when the TV stopped working, I checked the signal booster light, saw it was off, and replaced it with a newer version immediately off Amazon, only to discover the replacement wouldn’t fit etc etc.  6 days later, after several Amazon deliveries and returns, we ascertain that in fact the fuse on the original item had blown and needed to be replaced.

bull-china-shopNow, I know I have suffered from this “bull in a china shop” syndrome for years.  Probably inherited it, who knows.  It’s all my mother’s fault.

My question is this (and I am speaking here as someone who coaches and trains others in changing the way they do things, so I am somewhat invested in the correct answer):

“Why are some things so inextricably linked with the way you are as to be almost impossible to modify?”

I can think of so many changes I have made over the years, it’s not as if I can’t learn.  I say less in meetings than I used to, I ask more questions when I negotiate, I ask for something in return when I make concessions, I pause more when I present, I always look over my shoulder when I change lanes on motorways, and I spend longer before overtaking on country roads (ever since I drove under a lorry turning right, driving at 60 mph).

So, I can do it (thankfully) – we all can.  How come I (and maybe you’re the same) seem not to be able to change the most obvious things that are not helpful?  The benefits are there, staring me in the face.  If I slowed down a bit, had a think before charging in, I would save time, money, my health even.  What on earth is stopping me?  Please don’t tell me it’s a man thing!  I know at least 3 men who read the instructions on their new chainsaw before using, or check that all the parts are there before they build the flatpack bedroom wardrobe.

I don’t have an answer (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this article, which by the way has taken me 20 minutes to write, and was started without any sort of plan, objective or structure in mind).  But I’d love to know your thoughts on this.  And also some reassurance that I’m not alone.  Please tell me you have the same frustrations.  Lie a bit if you need to.


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© Ivonne Wierink –