Talk me out of this

About a month ago, I was on a war path.

An exciting opportunity was presented to me, and I was certain that I wanted to move forward with it. The circumstances couldn’t have been more favorable in my mind—it aligned with a number of things that are interesting to me and represented a new and exciting challenge.

In my frothy lather of enthusiasm, I had the foresight to enlist the opinions of my trusted advisors. This task was attacked with gusto as well, I probably booked two dozen meetings in the space of a couple weeks. Feedback was uniform and resoundingly positive and I was full steam ahead.

[I recognize in retrospect that this was at least partially attributable to how convincingly I sold the idea, but that’s another hastily written post for another busy day.]

But I recognized that nothing in life worth having comes that easily, so I changed my posture and the questions I was asking. Specifically, I asked people to talk me out of it. I actually created a Powerpoint deck entitled “Talk us out of this” wherein I started outlining the facts and figures for my advisors to consider.

Well, I got what I was looking for.

It only took one quick call with a friend of mine who’s intimately familiar with the vertical I was entering to take the wind out of my sails, which is precisely what I needed. The nature of the opportunity, the risk I would have assumed, and the objective viability of the idea are all immaterial.

What matters is that my advisor clearly saw the gulf that existed between my vision and the realities I would soon face. I was blind and I knew it.

This isn’t to say that I couldn’t have been successful had I moved forward, or that considering was a waste of time (it wasn’t). The fact of the matter is simply that I avoided a potential disaster by changing my posture to accommodate my natural inclination to view something exciting through rose colored glasses.

Willie Jackson is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant & Facilitator with ReadySet, a boutique consulting firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a frequent writer and speaker on the topics of workplace equity, global diversity, and inclusive leadership. Connect on LinkedIn or get in touch.

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