The easiest thing in the world is to settle for the easy way out and the hardest thing is to realize that easy isn’t always easy. As a matter of fact, how often is “easy” actually the long way around? A recent conversation made me think about this and I want to share it with you.
The conversation was about “fixers”. You‘ve run into them before: around the water cooler, in the parking lot after work, or elbow-to-elbow at the bar. Although fixers aren’t much good at fixing, they are very good at telling you everything that is wrong while doing a good job of convincing—at least themselves—that it’s everyone else’s fault. Fixers are, in fact, blamers, but don’t tell them that without bracing for a good fight. Fixers can somehow convince themselves that something can be 100% blamed on everyone else.
Victor Frankl once said, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Charles Rosner, a renowned advertiser and marketer from the 1960’s through the 1990’s, actually wrote, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” as a recruitment slogan in 1967.
Isn’t life pretty simple if you think about it? Many times a day, we hit the fork in the road that offers us the choice between being part of the solution or being part of the problem. When we’re standing at the fork, we really do have the choice to be one or the other. It’s that easy. Identifying fixers is simple. If you think something is 100 % someone else’s fault, you’re a fixer. If you find yourself standing by, critiquing rather than helping, you’re a fixer. If you find yourself dissecting the situation after the fact rather than working on it while it’s going on, you guessed it . . . you’re acting like a fixer.
Let’s face it, to some extent we’re all fixers. It’s a matter of degree and choice of action. Being a fixer doesn’t mean you’re a bad soul, it just means you’re making some bad choices. Although you might get people to agree with you, they won’t be feeling sorry for you. Picking everyone else apart requires no care and maintenance and certainly no responsibility, but when you get down to it, who respects a fixer?
We all own at least some part of every situation, even if it’s only a sliver. Take responsibility for your sliver even if it’s only 5% of the total. You’ll set an example for others to follow in taking their responsibility for the rest. Challenge other fixers with, “I hear what you’re saying, but what are you going to do about it?” Lastly, you can help fixers and yourself by remembering a favorite quote of mine from Nido Qubein, “Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go: they merely determine where you start.”
The opposite of fixers are “doers”, as in “Those who say it can’t be done, should stand back and get out of the way of those already doing it.” It’s your fork in the road and your choice as to which road you’re going to take!
Happy Holidays and here’s to a 2018 that will be every bit as good as we decide to make it!