Last night I had a dream that there was a tarantula loose in our house. (Gee…thanks, National Geographic.) As I surveyed the house looking for the creature, I noticed it curling up in the corner of a downstairs room. Inexplicably, I let it alone thinking “I’ll take care of it later”, but when I came back to the room it was gone and was nowhere to be found. Needless to say, I panicked.
[Cue the interlude music titled “Welcome To My Psychosis”]
As I awoke this morning, with the dream still fresh in my mind, I reflected on how many times I’ve engaged in this exact kind of behavior in life and work. I’ve noticed a problem, but for some inexplicable reason allowed it to continue unchecked even though a little effort now could have saved a lot of pain later. I immediately began thinking about where there are “tarantulas in the corners” of my life.
Strategy. It’s so (SO!) easy to defer strategic decisions when there doesn’t seem to be an imminent threat to the organization. However, the threat becomes much more real when the tarantula escapes the corner and is poised to inflict a deadly wound. Better to make decisions when the situation is recognized than to defer and default. As long as the tension exists it will cast a shadow over all other activities.
Email. I’ve been out of town (and the country!) for several days with a client. When I’m out of the pocket, I tend to allow e-mail to accumulate to dangerous levels. (The “she’s about to blow, captain” kind of dangerous.) I’m realizing that 30 minutes each morning while away can resolve a lot of the angst I feel when re-entering the atmosphere after an extended trip. Knowing something is sitting in my inbox is like seeing the tarantula and walking away from it.
Relationships. Sometimes there are little ticking “time bombs” that are immediately acknowledged in relationships but aren’t dealt with. These can be with clients, friends or family members, but when they aren’t immediately dealt with they create long-term angst. Better to deal with them immediately.
These are a few of my “tarantulas in the corner”. How about you? Are there problems you’re ignoring/deferring because you don’t want to deal with them right now? Better to cage the tarantula now than to deal with the uncertainty and angst later.