The First Thing You Do When You Find Yourself in a Hole
I am sure you know what I mean. At one time or another in your life you have been in a deep hole of your own making. You found yourself surrounded and getting out without some help was almost impossible.
You still can hear the barrage of lame excuses you offered for digging at all, let alone digging for so long. You fidgeted, rationalized, got angry, howled at life’s unfairness. Then, you just accused everyone from your Grade 1 teacher through Mother, sisters and the family dog.
Thinking about it now, you must be cringing in embarrassment just as I was when I really started to sort hole digging out.
Most of us have been in holes and maybe even several of them. So, you’re not alone in this idiocy. You are not even the winner with the deepest hole. But did you have the courage to stop digging, accept the craziness of digging deeper and start to think out a Plan B.
Have you tried to get out of nose grower that you have told a friend. Or excused yourself for forgetting an important date in your friend’s life with a fairy tale that even made the carpets blush? Or, you lied to your Mom about where you were last night and and tried to wiggle out when she found the truth?
And when you went on and on building the pants-on-fire special, you must have heard, softly, the sound of your shovel digging away as you sank further into the hole.
There are times though, when the hole holds something of significant value to you and you just don’t want to give up. You want to have what the hole holds. Yes, keep digging but stop once in a while and reassess.
Maybe, you’re digging in the wrong hole. Maybe, there is no longer any need. You have found that it no longer matters that much to you to give up everything you have just to have it.
Given a wider or new perspective, what you thought was of value in the past, no longer matters now. Legends about your own life can be the deepest holes. Accomplishments you never had. Events that never happened, Places visited that you’ve never seen. Told and retold. Deeper and deeper. Ouch.
Finding other diggers, often gives satisfaction. And you can shame them by ratting out the nature and depth of the canyon they have dug and the legend they have built. You can take comfort in your little adventures in the economies of truth by seeing that others are just as bad or worse.
However, usually, you don’t expose the depth of their hole as you have a nagging feeling you are looking up at them from the pit you are digging…..and they may know!
Ask yourself, what is it you're trying to accomplish by digging? To put blame on someone? To avoid taking accountability yourself? Is this really worth all this effort? Should the energy be better placed at deciding what action to take to remedy the situation rather than trying to find out who’s to blame or being forced to stare at yourself in the mirror and accepting blame.
Maybe the situation calls for immediate remediation not more digging to avoid whatever the issue is you are digging away from. Maybe it calls for a decision or action needed to make the situation better and make people feel good or satisfy some customers.
Maybe there is a bit of pride swallowing and embarrassment. Digging to escape blame is almost always the wrong thing to do as reality always squeezes out in the end and you lose people’s confidence and respect.
There is a stigma that is attached to mistakes, to failures so rather than take the blame and apologize we would all love to shirk the responsibility and swallow the guilt. But often, in the corporate world, it is not only one person who is responsible. Even more often in government.
Or, even if it is just one person, the mistake is done and you can’t really do anything about it. By digging a hole, you attract the blame to yourself and all those who contributed to the problem can agree on one thing….you look and sound guilty so you are.
So do something that will make it right and forget about it. People will then only remember the right you have done and will continue to have a much better feeling about you and your brand.
Digging at times can be useful. If you are careful, you can buy a little time to find the deficiencies are and remedy them. Solve the problem and quickly fill the very shallow hole you dug.
Digging when you’re angry or in a panic is often not productive. It becomes a session to let out steam and often makes the situation worst. Sometimes, you begin to believe your own nonsense and the twists and turns to sustain the craziness simply exhausts you.
I don’t know about you but the many things I have said and done when I was angry or in a panic are those I am often embarrassed about afterwards. Especially when I clobber my long suffering and loving husband (His edit). They leave a bad taste. So, stop.
What’s the problem now? What can we do about it? Do it. In my experience, after things get resolved you can stop following the digging habit and smile, even laugh at your own mistakes. If you do, others will accept it and you can move on.
When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you do is…..Stop Digging.
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