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3 Steps to End an Avoidance Loop

If you tend to let yourself off the hook on certain things you know you need to do , you’re in good company. Selective avoidance is a time-honored trait of the most successful people. I hear it from strong CxO execs and high potential emerging leaders alike. It sounds something like, “I know I need to…”

"… give that guy some candid feedback"

"… trust my team more and stop trying to do it all myself"

"… have that difficult conversation with the Board about their newest idea"

If letting yourself repeatedly off the hook sounds familiar to you, here are three steps you can take that can propel you out of your avoidance loop.

Step 1: Make a List

What are you pretty sure you need to do that you’re just not doing? Make a list of high priority things you’re putting off that nevertheless must be done.

Step 2: Make a Plan

No doubt you’ve had the best of intentions—for a while— to get to these things. So let’s understand what’s needed to get moving on them.

For each item on your list, identify what would need to happen for you to go ahead and take the action(s)? That is, what barrier needs removing or what else needs changing for you to make progress from good intentions to concrete action?

Now that you have the “what” and the “how,” it’s important you identify for each avoidance item someone you can ask to help hold you accountable, and what that help needs to look like. Then ask them.

Step 3: Make it Happen

Finally, get your plan under way. As you do that, you can look at the pattern of the types of things you tend to selectively avoid. What do you notice?