REASSURANCE… Seth Godin, as always, has a way of smacking us in the face with the truth that we are often reluctant to see.
He wrote a post…
The problem with reassurance.
The taxi’s waiting, it’s honking its horn, time to go to the airport.
Yes, the passport is in my pocket. I checked five minutes ago.
Of course, the cost of checking again, just one more time, is tiny. Hardly worth discussing with myself. And compared to the cost of being wrong, of missing the flight… go ahead, check again.
And like giving into a toddler every time he whines for ice cream, this is the problem.
The lizard brain seeks constant reassurance. It will wheedle and argue and debate with the rest of your head, pushing for one tiny bit of evidence, some sort of proof that everything will be okay.
Don’t do it.
When you indulge the lizard, it gains power. It doesn’t walk away ashamed, humiliated at its anxiety. Instead, it merely sidesteps and looks for the next thing to worry about, because, ready for this? It’s nice to be reassured.
Developing the reassurance habit is easy to do and hard to kick. The problem is this: there are some ventures where no reassurance is possible. There is important work for you to do where no proof is available.
If you’ve trained the lizard brain that reassurance is forthcoming, it will scream even louder when those projects that don’t come with proof are at hand.
Proof that everything will be okay! It like an addiction… needs more and more. As Seth points out there are initiatives where reassurance isn’t possible, and chances are… THAT is where greatness awaits. Greatness… to do your best work, to be the best you can be, to uncover talents deeply buried or to find a new and exciting path.
I work with clients everyday whose "lizard brains", as Seth call it, takes over and counts all the why-nots and begs for proof that they are making the right decision to… run for judge, run for bar president, become a global expert, become a television legal commentator, be a great lawyer AND a great mom or to start their own firm.
The list goes on and on. However… I have never heard anyone say they really want to become a brain surgeon or movie star. Of course not… I work with lawyers. But, I ask you why not? I think it is because the goals are always attainable goals that lawyers aspire to; they are not ever out of the realm of possibility. So why do they hold back needing reassurance that they will succeed? I think Seth has the answer… They have trained their brains to need the reassurance… just like some of us need coffee.
The reality is, all they have to do is TRUST in themselves and look at the success that already exists in their lives… and there are many.
So when REASSURANCE knocks on your door… don’t let it in, rather TRUST. Trust in yourself that YOU will figure out HOW to proceed along the path to attain what it is you are going after. And when obstacles arise YOU will find the help you need to handle the obstacles. There is important work that YOU need to get about doing, even if there is no reassurance… have a little faith in YOURSELF! Don’t let the need for reassurance kill YOUR greatness!