The other day I had a meeting with a woman who had lost her job a year or so ago. Somewhere in the conversation, she told me that she was having trouble finding a job because people didn’t hire you if you were old and fat. The thing is, she was not particularly old, nor was she fat. She did, however, have a fat, old, bad attitude. Sometimes it is easier to blame our favorite go to reasons for why things aren’t working out than it is to take a harder look to find out what is really going on.
I once had an attractive but neurotic neighbor, Bonnie, who was in the market for a relationship, but very self-conscious about being tall, among other things. Bonnie traveled for a living and one evening on a flight back home, she sat next to a great guy and they had an amazing conversation. She definitely wanted to see him again.
When the plane was getting ready to land, Bonnie started worrying that when they stood up she would be taller than he was. When the time came to stand up to get their luggage, over the roar of the engines, he said to her, “Can I call you?” Bonnie responded in a nasty way because she thought he said “How tall are you?” Bonnie had decided the reason she didn’t have a relationship was because she was tall. But what was really getting in her way was the critical view she had of herself and everyone else.
Another time this happens is when people are trying to drum up business and close deals. When it isn’t working out as planned, they think they are not getting the business because they need a degree or some other external reason out of their control. But it could be that the reason they are not closing business deals is that they are not confident of their ability to do the job, and it shows.
Do you have a favorite belief you’re using as a scapegoat for not reaching your goals? Is it time to take a second look?