When You Know, You Know

Jul 01, 2014

By Mike Pallin, Master Trainer and Floyd Wickman Team President One of the most profound principles in ‘The Wickman Way’ is this piece of positive life control advice from Floyd:

“If you don’t like your circumstance, you only have three choices: Live with it, leave it or change it.”

This acts like a default setting, especially for those of us who avoid confrontation, those of us who procrastinate, and those of us who dither over decisions. Leaving and changing are much harder to do than learning to live with it, and so we put up with a familiar but miserable circumstance by ‘default.’

As someone put it, “Most people would rather suffer with a known misery than take a chance on an unknown joy.” Why? Because it’s known. It’s predictable. It might even be because it validates all the negative crap we like to believe about ourselves. It’s called being comfortably uncomfortable.

This is a mental state that’s deviously seductive. It is born of habit, and reinforced daily as we catalogue all the reasons why we can’t make a change just yet – why we don’t just choose to leave – why it’s beyond our control.

So how can you know when it’s time to leave or time to make a change?

One answer is - when you know, you know. Or, as Floyd defines an awareness, “Something that you know that you know that you know.” It comes to you as a hunch, an intuition, a little bird tells you. Or it can be less subtle, like an avalanche or an intervention.

But let’s say you’re getting none of the signals and you’re just unhappy with things the way they are, how do you know and what do you do?

You know because you’re unhappy. You wake up one morning and say, “Hey, I’m unhappy. I was unhappy yesterday, too. And the day before that. I wish it wasn’t like this.”

OK, stop right there. That’s how you know. And when you know, you know. Don’t go to the catalogue of reasons why you can’t. You just wished it wasn’t like this. How much longer are you willing to live with it? Give yourself a deadline.

The first recorded use of the word deadline, or dead-line, occurred during the American Civil War in dispatches from Andersonville Prison. If a prisoner strayed beyond an imaginary line outside the stockade, they were shot dead.

The newspaper business (remember that?) adopted the word deadline to mean a time limit for filing a story.

We use the word deadline as a required ingredient of goal setting. If you want to hit a goal, you need a “by when.” We all have goals, or at least desires, wishes, hopes, dreams, expectations and someday, Honey’s. Deadlines galvanize goals into action.

Deadlines help us establish priorities. Deadlines give us that LFT (look forward to) ingredient that motivates and energizes us. And deadlines give us the time frame for measuring progress.

But most importantly, a deadline can give us the determination and fortitude to break out of a self-imposed prison of unhappiness. A deadline can give us the guts we need to make a decision to stop living with it. And a deadline can give us the hope and encouragement we need to leave it or change it.


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