by Marion Franklin
Despite the warnings, “I’ll keep on dancing. This ship was built to last and will never sink.” These are made up words from someone on the Titanic who refused to believe that the ship would go down.
Unfortunately, far too often, we have warning signs or signals and we choose to ignore them, or at best acknowledge them and still proceed as planned.
After receiving a recommendation, I hired someone to rewrite the code for my website. We spoke at great length and agreed on a price. He said he would throw in several bonus items, and since it was a small job, it would not take long.
Simultaneously, I contacted my web hosting company about the same work. Their estimate was lower but they didn’t seem as professional, so I hired the recommended person. When it wasn’t completed within two weeks , I sent e-mails and called. He assured me that it was a small job and would be completed long before my deadline.
Each week that passed, I contacted him, and each time he assured me not to worry and that I should be patient. Eventually he explained that he had been ill for 3 weeks and could not do any business but my job was at the top of the list.
With the deadline approaching, I FINALLY contacted the web hosting company and hired them. The job was completed in two days and the final price was much lower than their estimate (and much lower than the other company).
Upon reading this, you would think that I would have paid more attention to my ‘inner knowing’ that the job might not happen. Yet, I continued to believe him. It took far too long for me to heed the red flags despite the fact that I would have told a friend to look elsewhere!
What allows us to ignore signals?
- Is it unrealistic optimism?
- Is it faith?
- Is it the golden rule? (I would have been true to my word, so he will too.)
- Is it laziness? (Not wanting to start over)
- Is it about not trusting our intuition?
Recently, I wore a pin that was really special to me. Just before leaving the house, I looked in the mirror, and in my mind said, “If I ever lose this, I would be upset.”
You would think that I would have checked it for security at that point…No!
Several hours later when talking with my friend, just before parting, I thought I heard something drop. I looked down and didn’t see anything so we continued our conversation. Eventually, I got into my car, and when I arrived at my destination noticed that the pin was missing.
When going back to the location, I found the backing for the pin (what I must have heard drop) but never found the actual pin.
What does it take to pay attention to red flags?
They are constantly present – telling us something, revealing something, pointing something out. Yet, too often, we are rushing, relying on our intentions or impulses, or simply not truly present. That is when we choose (sometimes subconsciously) to ignore the signals. It’s always costing us – perhaps time, money, or sentimentality. Nevertheless, there is always a price to pay for not heeding obvious clues and cues.
However, dwelling on how we missed the obvious clues would only perpetuate negativity. It behooves us to move on and stay in the present. Yet, if we didn’t have regrets or anguish, we would probably continue the same behavior. So the next time there are clues, we will more likely pay attention.
INVITATION TO EXPERIMENT
What will it take for you to notice the red flags AND do something about them?
When a red flag (or warning) shows up, we can make a conscious decision in that moment. When the ‘little voice’ or ‘inner knowing’ lets us know – STOP – Make a choice right then:
–Do I stop the conversation and really look on the ground or do I continue the conversation and let it go?
–At some point, based on the evidence, I question my continuous trust that the job will be done and make a decision.
If you feel inclined, please let me know if you decide to go ahead and try this experiment. I would love to hear about your experiences. Your feedback and comments have been most welcomed:-) Keep them coming!!
Marion Franklin, MCC Life Coach, Mentor, Coach Training, Author
As a Master Certified Coach, Marion coaches individuals and groups regarding personal and professional change, focus, conflict management, and human relations. She has coached managers in corporations including PepsiCo, Toys’R’Us, and Reader’s Digest. Through her coaching (http:www.lifecoachinggroup.com), clients achieve long-lasting, meaningful, and consistent results. Marion attends the School of Practical Philosophy and as a former high school teacher, created and teaches a unique, ICF approved 42-hour coach-training program, Laser Coach Your Way to Sustainable Success (http:www.lifecoachinggroup.com/lasercoach/php). She is the co-author of ‘7 Simple Secrets to Successful Workshops’ (http://www.successfulworkshops.com) Marion has been a featured presenter and has been cited in The Wall Street Journal and appeared on Cable TV. To read past issues and/or subscribe to her inspirational monthly newsletter, Life’s Little Lessons, go to http://home.ezezine.com/23_2