Pick Your Battles

Posted on 13 April, 2022 at 4:25

I was recently taken to task by someone who read a comment I had made about spiders. I said I don’t like spiders and to overcome my dislike, I could go to London Zoo for their Friendly Spider Programme where I could end up with a Mexican Red-Knee Spider on my hand. Will I actually do that? Ummmm, probably no!


Her point was that as a coach, I shouldn’t be admitting to any fears and “imperfections” (her word, not mine), as I should be a shining example to my clients of how to be “fearless” (again, her word, not mine).  And any fears … well, shouldn’t I be working on them?


Interesting and valid points which I was and am happy to answer.


I am a coach. I am also a human being, with all the flaws, imperfections and quirks of most human beings. And that means that sometimes, I am frightened of things and that is a good thing. It makes me compassionate to and empathetic with my clients. It is also a good thing when, for example, I get nervous before public speaking. It gives me that adrenaline rush which ups my game and indicates that I feel the speech is important to my audience, not just ‘another day at the office’.  


And this is where the point about picking your battles comes in. I get nervous about public speaking and so I prepare thoroughly; my subject, equipment, notes, venue, outlook, clothes, everything. I do as much as I can to give myself confidence. I work through the fear to step up onto the stage because connecting with people, offering them insights and information which might support them, is important to me.


If I decided that I wanted to move to a country such as Australia which has a reputation for big spiders turning up regularly in your kitchen, then you can bet that my very first call would be to London Zoo because in that case, a fear of spiders could be a serious block to my future.  However, feeling a bit uncomfortable and screaming like a 3 year old when I see a UK house spider isn’t, so I am not going to spent valuable time and energy on it.  


None of us have to be perfect and we don’t have to work on all our fears and be invincible. Not everything has to be handled - and your little quirks and imperfections are an important part of who you are. We have enough to do already in our lives working on the stuff which is important.


How do you know which to work on?


Is the issue something which is an inconvenience and a minor irritation (or in the case of my spider dislike, something which can be mildly embarrassing in company?), something you can live with or work around? Or is it potentially getting in the way of you moving forward?


If it it the former, don’t sweat it. Or work on it if you want, as a practice for working on the bigger issue, but don’t let it distract you. Save your focus and energy for those battles which matter.

Categories: Attitude, Motivation, Well Being