100 Ways to Succeed #4:


Only a sad few seek out contention. Then there’s another group (I’m a Charter Member) that goes to almost any length to avoid it … and routinely lets little, salvageable messes fester into big, intractable ones.


In short, a 5-minute call made right now to deal with a “slightly bruised” ego or a “minor” misunderstanding can avoid a situation tomorrow that leads to divorce court, a lost (major) client, an employee law suit, etc.

I’ve learned that invariably “there was a moment” when the situation (DAMN NEAR ANY “SITUATION”) was reversible. In fact, easily reversible. But pride or embarrassment or unwillingness to further mess up an already nasty day led to “just one more day’s” evasion & delay … and that day becomes a second day …

No, I’ve not joined a Busted Relationships 12-step Program. But I have done one, for me, little Big Thing. As part of my morning priority-setting meditation I go to an item on my desktop labeled “NOT TOMORROW!” It’s simply a list of names, or perhaps situations, that I must remain conscious of … and work on in the course of the day. I try and confront myself brutally about what I’m putting off. AND ADD TO MY LIST ONE (no more than one … do-ability is paramount) UNPLEASANT CALL I MUST MAKE TODAY. We’re all different, but I’ve found that just having the damned “NOT TOMORROW!” de facto flashing at me is a spur to action. (Incidentally, it’s right next to another doc/icon labeled “VITAL SIGNS”—that’s the one, a PP slide, with red on black, that heralds the results of my most recent weigh-in and the number of consecutive days I’ve exercised.)

By the way (we all know this, too), don’t let me make this sound so grim. I find that in 9 of 10 cases the call goes far better than imagined (maybe it’s just relief?); not only does it “deal with” a thorny problem, but it also often launches a positive trajectory for a fraying relationship; and it always makes me feel better about myself, makes me feel a bit of a hero, actually.


Tom Peters posted this on September 23, 2004, in Success Tips.
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