Have you ever had a toothache that progressively got worse as you continued to ignore it? For some reason, many of us have learned to accept some level of pain as normal while allowing the condition to worsen. In the same way that the pain of a toothache can often go unaddressed for an uncomfortable amount of time, sometimes it’s also a person or situation in our business that we refuse to address as well.
Dr. Henry Cloud discusses the principle of “pulling the tooth” in his book “9 Things you Simply Must Do.” In short, Dr. Cloud discusses the tendency of most people to deal with pain rather than treat the root of the problem. He goes on to describe that successful people train themselves to deal with problem situations and people quickly, before they become a bigger problem.
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In my business for example, I’ve had many relationships with vendors, contractors or even business partners over the years that were not optimum. Sometimes this involved a person that brought down the rest of the team by setting a negative tone. Sometimes it was an established business partner that simply wasn’t performing to the standard I had set for my business. Unfortunately, in most of these cases, I had subconsciously trained myself to deal with the pain and hassle of these shortcomings rather than addressing them head on.
For those people who tend to be loyal (to a fault) or non-confrontational, it can be hard to honestly assess people in your business that are causing some level of stress or pain. Sometimes we believe it’s less painful to live with the difficult person or situation rather than deal with the temporary pain of addressing the problem head on. Dr. Cloud would argue that successful people learn to eliminate the negative energy and influences around them on a regular basis … before they have an opportunity to do much damage.
Short Term Pain is Better than Long Term
While nobody likes the feeling of pulling a tooth, is the short term pain associated with this really worse than dealing with the negative effects of a long-term toothache? For many of us, it’s worth examining ourselves and our businesses to determine the negative influences and stressors that keep us from achieving our full potential.
Perhaps it’s time to confront that negative employee who is killing morale in your office. Or perhaps it’s time to part ways with the contractor who simply never brings a project in on time or on budget. Whatever your situation, I strongly urge you to examine these problem areas in your business and determine if and when it’s time to “pull the tooth.”