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How bad has it got to get?

Bag of RubbishHave you ever found yourself thinking so strongly about an issue that you say to yourself “I really need to do something about that” …or “I really must see to that…” or even, “That really is annoying?”

Perhaps it’s a client you’ve promised to contact and never got round to calling, a project that needs finishing or even a member of staff whose performance is getting worse and needs to be tackled.

Pushing my grand-children’s old, now redundant and heavily-laden pushchair through our gate I felt a huge sense of achievement and pride in my not inconsiderable effort. Would the bin men accept this bloated, strangely bumpy and overflowing bin bag or would I personally have to take it to the tip? The bin bag in question was full of rubbish I picked up early one Sunday morning.

So you’re wondering what on earth a bloated bin bag has to do with that member of staff whose performance needs addressing?  I call it ‘unfinished business’.…..stuff that takes a disproportionate amount of our emotional energy. Tasks that seem to accumulate each day and leave us feeling guilty. It’s the never ending list of our oughts, musts and shoulds.

A tutor once said to me “Too many oughts in life leads to a hardening of the oughteries!” A potentially fatal condition. Her advice? Make a decision to act…that removes the guilt.

I can hear her now “Make a decision. Do it or don’t do it… but don’t ought it!.” How right she was.

I run for fun, my health and the pleasure it gives. For several weeks I’d begun to notice and allowed myself to become pre-occupied with the assorted rubbish gathering in drifts along the verges and in the hedgerows on my usual circuit. So much so, that I found myself increasingly focusing on not the primroses, bluebells or rabbits but on empty drink cans, soggy chip papers and mangled cardboard coffee cups. Just like that employee whose difficult behaviour takes up all your thinking space so that rubbish took mine. My runs became less and less enjoyable.

In my sessions I talk about avoiding musts, oughts and shoulds and taking decisions that lead to action.

So that was why that morning you would have seen someone resembling a Bag Lady pushing an old pushchair and filling a black bin liner with roadside rubbish with a satisfied smile on her face.

Now – what job are you putting off?

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