Is your BUT too big?

Billy slammed his hand into the board again. It still wouldn’t break. His eyes, face and hand were the same crimson colour. Between expectations, frustrations, and impact, Billy’s mind, spirit, and body were all taking a beating. We all relate to this situation, whether through personal goals, relationships, business, our own expectations, and desires. We also know someone who asks us for help and counters every idea with,

“Yeah but the problem is….”

How often have you heard, or said, that? Recently, I was speaking with a friend who was not where he wanted to be. He was frustrated , blocked, angry, and not seeing a way out of his situation (later, I’ll add a post on how not to approach these situations, written with a lot of experience). So, in typical response as a caring friend, I suggested a myriad of possibilities: possible solutions, avenues of change, a new direction to go, etc. Every single suggestion was met with the same response, “Yeah, but the problem is…”

It wasn’t too long before I started feeling as shut down and stifled as he did. Soon, we were both focused solely on the obstacles, or what we each thought the obstacles were. It turns out we had different images on what that issue was. I thought that, like trying to navigate a maze, the blocks and walls were evident; while necessary to understand, they themselves, and overly focusing on them, will not get you to the solution. Endless analysis of the dark does not get you to the light.

Billy was focused on the board. The obstacle. Just like my friend was. The problem is a solvable question: How does Billy get his hand from Point A to Point B — one side of the board to the other. This illustrates how often we perceive the obstacle to be the problem. We identified his fear of injury, fear of failure, expectations (his and the onlookers at his testing), etc. We had him hit the pads again (reducing the fear – it was injury based, but of course he was getting more injured listening to his fear of injury than if he had just hit through the board in the first place) and trained hitting through the pad, past the obstacle to the solution.

Yeah but… the board is harder than the pads.

Yeah but… it’s going to hurt.

Yeah but...

And that is why we break boards. It is a metaphor for moving through an obstacle to a perceived problem in order to achieve the answer. Indomitable spirit: facing something that we perceive to be stronger, harder, tougher than we are, and moving through it.

Don’t let your Big But get in your way.