We can only get to where we want to go if we know where we currently are; what our reality is. Imagine going on a road trip and mapping directions from Texas to California, only to realize you actually started in Ohio. You have the same destination in both instances, but the directions are completely different depending on where you start. And you can’t swap out one for the other. 

I hope none of us have made a mistake like that before, but we often do it in other ways by failing to accurately see the reality of where we currently are. Figuring out your Here is essential in getting There. 

Fierce Conversations

In her book, Fierce Conversations, Susan Scott asks her readers and clients to ask themselves what it is they are pretending not to know. And if their answer to that question is “I don’t know,” she would then respond with “what would it be if you did?” 

Answering that question accurately requires honesty. We oftentimes will pretend not to know something because we don’t want to deal with it. In the book, Scott gives the example of a fishing company whose CEO was pretending he didn’t know that the disagreement between the captains of two of his ships was the reason behind low output. He preferred to try and deal with the issue through other means, but ignoring the root cause meant that no matter what tactics he tried, they still weren’t producing enough. 

Ignoring the Issue

Trying to ignore the real cause of the issue is like pretending that you’re in Texas, but you’re actually in Ohio. You can try to get to where you want to go, but you’re only going to become more lost and make the problem worse in the process. 

The purpose of asking yourself what you are pretending not to know is to interrogate reality and see what is really going on. If you are pretending not to know that you have a problem with motivation, then you might think that getting a new job will help get you out of your funk, only to find that you still feel as unmotivated as you did before when the novelty wears off. If you are pretending not to know that your teenager is lying to you about their grades, you won’t be able to support them in a helpful way, and the situation will continue to escalate. 

For those of us who default to the conflict resolution style of avoidance, facing these realities head on will feel uncomfortable. But being honest about what is actually going on is the only way to move forward. 

Gracie McBride is the Content and Systems Coordinator at The Crossroad.