Specters and Running Shoes


The first rule of problem solving is to identify the problems.  It is not a simple as that sounds.  Usually in business you can look over income statements and other metrics provided by people from within and sometimes going outside to have a person sit at the other end of a table sheepishly working up the courage to detail the failures.

It’s the same as a person asking for help.  They need to know the most basic part, help is required.  At times the problems are stacked a mile high and seeing over the wall of issues is daunting.  Then finding the right person to help, just as bad.  Ask the wrong person and things could be made worse.  Or someone might use that information to take advantage of you.

I used to teach these methods to graduate students.  Knowing who in any organization might be the best person to get out from under the mounting confusion.  In my family’s business my cousin is that person for me.  He takes care of the daily issues while I can focus on larger issues that affect the long term.

Lately in my personal life I have had a significantly difficult time trusting people to help with even the simplest of things.  Hours trying to identify a single person who could be a sounding board, hours that might have better been spent fixing the concerns.

There are people I trust to handle simple things.  But when it comes to trusting someone with the most important thing, my mental state, I trust no one.  Making a mess of relationships with those around me who just ask if they can listen turns into my knowing I am hurting them by ignoring their request or flatly telling them “I got this!”

Fear of putting myself in a place where I can get hurt more is limiting.  I would have told the students that putting aside ego is the best thing you can do for a business.  The best leaders are ones who can stand in a room and say that they don’t know the solution and could use assistance.  A different viewpoint to countermand the hours spend looking over papers and screens.  A way out of the dark?

With the family business we have screwed some things up.  Any person who can tell you they know the future is full of garbage.  10 year projections, 5 year projections are just guesses.  You can’t rely on them for anything more than an option if you chose all of the right paths.  No business works this way.  Life can’t either.

Years have gone by with me being able to tell you why a decision was made.  That’s the nature of Behavioral Economics.  I might even be able to tell you in a very limited fashion how you might pick a solution from a very narrow set of choices.  Again, just guesses.

I’m having a very difficult time letting go of the past when it comes to people being there.  There is one single thing that paralyzes me, the fear of abandonment.  Someone being there one moment and not the next.  It stems from my teenage years and continues into what is now my 44th year.

For the past week I sit pensively looking out the window hoping for something that I know isn’t going to change unless I do something.  That part of me that scares everyone, being a hardass of epic proportions, pushed back at the wrong time.

Now I don’t know how to fix it.  I hurt someone’s feelings when it would have been better to just admit that I wasn’t feeling well.  That fear of having another person take advantage of my being ill, even when I know this person wouldn’t even if held at gunpoint; it affects too much.

The best I can do for now was send some flower and hope they understand.  They know the history involved, but maybe they just weren’t ready for the reality.  No harm in that, feelings are particularly fickle things.

What is my message?  The future is a complete unknown and that seems to be bothering me more than it used to.  Might be that specter of doctors and their timelines clicking their countdown?  Maybe all that running from the past and stopping to catch my breath finally allowed that ghost to catch up?  Who knows…

I liked it better when fear wasn’t such a constant presence.


2 thoughts on “Specters and Running Shoes

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