Episode 105 - Reality Check
The Thursday Thesis - 28/06/2018
“If only they’d said...”
You know how it goes, don’t you?
Your gut has been telling you for ages that something isn’t right, and it’s finally reached the point where somebody mentions the “elephant in the room”, the great-big problem that everybody knows about, deep down, but nobody wants to talk about.
For weeks, months – perhaps even for years – the great grey pachyderm is skirted around, ignored and pretended out of mind.
The problem is that reality has a habit of poking its nose in where we’d really rather it didn’t.
When that happens, the secret’s out and the bad news is travelling faster than the speed of light.
But, often, when the bad news hits you, it’s usually a relief.
For one thing, there’ll be no more elephant-dodging, no hoping that somebody else will blink first in the game of looking-through-the-elephant that you’ve been skilfully engaged in for all that time.
There’s no more stand-off with the truth.
When the faecal matter finally hits the rotary air circulator, the mess is made and you can start cleaning up.
If only they’d said something earlier...
Former General Electric CEO, Jack Welch, is famous for asking his staff “What’s the reality here?”
It’s a great question – it doesn’t presuppose that everything is awesome, and it doesn’t assume that everything is wrong, either. It just asks for an objective assessment of the situation, just the facts.
Getting a handle on the reality of any situation is always, always better than trying to react to non-facts, half-truths and pretending.
The sooner you get the facts, the sooner you can take appropriate action and create better outcomes.
There may be uncomfortable moments.
There may be difficult conversations.
And yes, there may even be tears.
But wouldn’t you rather have those difficult talks sooner, have the uncomfortable moments, and perhaps shed the tears, than to spend your time waiting in dread for them to arrive – spending your present time inhabiting a future you hope will never come?
Ask the question, “What’s the reality here?”
If your counterpart feels safe enough you might be lucky enough to find out what’s going on – and together you can deal with reality, before it becomes a crisis.
And it applies to us, too – as individuals – when we are trying to get clear about our own lives.
If we apply The Reality Principle to ourselves, we open ourselves up to being more objective, to square-up and meet situations that are not the way we planned them, long before we are about to be flattened by a rapidly-approaching deadline. If we can get the facts, we may still have time enough to fix things.
Now, wouldn’t that be a relief?
© Neil Cowmeadow 2018
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