Keeping opportunities just out of reach

This is a very weird dog. I think it is the offspring of an Ewok and a hairbrush. He has a better personality than looks, but that may not be saying much.

Image of weird dog

I met the dog when visiting a relative recently. In a bid to win his trust, I held out a dog biscuit to him. He eyed me warily (which is a more unnerving experience than you might imagine when you look into his eyes), then backed away, scurrying around the back of a chair. He again advanced to my outstretched hand, only to retreat when the biscuit was merely an inch or two away. This went on for a while, until I got bored with the whole exercise before he did. 

Oddly, he really wanted that biscuit, I was perfectly happy to give it to him, but he simply could not bring himself to cross that last threshold. Risk — most of it perceived due to the unknown — overwhelmed known benefit.

How many times do we do the same — acknowledge our need or interest in something that we just know would be of benefit, but then we back away at the last second or at that last point of commitment?

Sure, a little delayed gratification is good for the soul (and the wallet!), and there are times when it is good to just sleep on an idea or opportunity to consult with people we trust. But too often, I think we miss too many opportunities when we allow what we think is reason to tamp intrigue. Even worse, we tend to talk ourselves out of the very things we know are of benefit and value. There are almost always plenty of reasons not to take a risk, but there was almost always one great reason why the risk seemed worth it. In business, we dare not operate on whim, but we can operate much more on guts and passion. 

So, what is your biscuit? Who or what holds it out to you? What keeps you from taking that last step? 

 

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About paulheagen

I am an executive coach, advisor and confidant who helps leaders better understand, refresh or redirect their purpose in their business and personal lives. Over my 35-year career as a corporate executive, communications consultant and trusted advisor, I have guided executives through “defining moments” – those unique times when the decisions they make, the words they speak, and the qualities they exhibit can influence not only the destiny of their organization but also their own lives and careers. When it comes to my clients and my life work, I am ferociously passionate and restlessly inquisitive about uncovering the unique dreams, vision and purpose that lead to exceptional leadership.
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One Response to Keeping opportunities just out of reach

  1. Gina says:

    Were you reading the parts of my brain I try so hard to hide?

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