Avoiding the avoidance avalanche

I’m a people pleaser. As much as I’d like to think I don’t care what other people think, I do.

There have been a couple different situations at work and in my personal life where I have been avoiding tough conversations and tough decisions. The thing about avoiding hard things is, those things you’re avoiding are almost always tangled up in things you actually want to do. So you end up finding yourself buried under an avoidance avalanche made up of the stuff you’re intentionally avoiding, and the increasingly sizable pile of “stuff I have to avoid in order to continue avoiding other things.”

It gets kind of crazy in short order.

i.chzbgrBlowing yourself free of an avoidance avalanche is a tricky business. The fastest way is usually to just do the original stuff you set out to avoid. Just suck it up, and do it despite your misgivings. Have the hard conversation with your spouse or boss. Answer the tough question you’ve been dodging. Make the difficult decision you’ve been putting off too long.

The immediate results are often chaotic. But chaos can be a source of energy, if focused properly. And if nothing else, it frees you up from those secondary avoidance items. It frees you to do the things you would do, and could do, if not for [THING I AM AVOIDING LIKE THE PLAGUE].

So, I blew up some avoidance avalanches in the last week or two, and things have gone tumbling. I’ve been trying to roll with the momentum, and not get crushed. It’s been fairly exhausting, especially the “doing the hard stuff” part. But I also don’t think I realized how much stress I was experiencing from just the pressure of trying to hold back things that were, in retrospect, inevitable. That stress is gone, and with it the slow, painful sapping of my energy as I had to divert increasing amounts to the monumental task of trying to hold back time.

If you’ve been avoiding something, ask yourself if you’ve reached that point where the cost of avoidance is greater than the cost of just doing it. It’s a point that sneaks up on you. I know it did me.

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