Have you ever had an idea or inkling to do something, or even a plan or a contract, that then fizzled because you talked yourself out of it?
Recently, I had the desire to reach out to someone I had known in high school. We had been best friends then, so I thought it would be interesting to see if there was any connection still between us despite more than 25 years of non-contact. But then I started to talk myself out of it: “It is best to leave the past in the past; people change; this will be pointless; too much time has passed; we’re strangers now, why bother?”
Why do we do this?
In truth, my risk was very low. If I reached out and we discovered that we are no longer friend material, so what? Yet, I elevated the risk with thoughts of rejection and embarrassment in order to justify my hesitation.
I am not alone in this kind of self-defeatist thinking. Lori Deschene talks about rationalization and how we talk ourselves out of doing things we want to do in her blog post Tiny Wisdom: Do You Talk Yourself Out of Doing Things You Want to Do?
And if we do this for the little decisions in our lives, I can imagine how much more we do it for bigger decisions.
I think this may explain why we sometimes have prospects get all excited about our Spitfire Project Management System at a demo, continue to tell us that it is exactly what they want, sign a contract and become our clients, even implement…but then stall and hesitate to use the software. They talk themselves out of actually moving to something new. They tell themselves it will be too disruptive, too different, not comfortable, not known–never mind! Of course, the status quo is comfortable for most people, so taking a step into the unknown brings about that negative self-talk.
But we really shouldn’t do that to ourselves.
If we live by the “better safe than sorry” philosophy, we actually lose. Sure, implementation of any new software causes change and some momentary upheaval, but those of our clients who have gone through the process and actually use our project management system end up thanking us. Once the dust settles, they start reaping the rewards: tasks are completed more quickly, there is less confusion among team members, all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed, money is saved.
I recommend you keep that in mind the next time you want to do something that can be beneficial to you and you realize that the only thing stopping you is you.
As for me, well, I sent the email. And we have started communicating. Where this ends up remains to be seen, but at least I didn’t hold myself back or chicken out. That’s a win in my book.