Ellen promised she’d send her signed contract back to me the day she received it. Six days later, after a number of ‘delays’, it showed up in the mail. First, she forgot. Then her printer didn’t work, then she left It home. Finally, she failed to check the box for Saturday delivery so I didn’t receive her packet until Monday night. What should have been a 24 hour turnaround, resulted in a delay of six days.
No big deal.
Priscilla and I had a call scheduled for 2:00 pm on a Thursday. She didn’t show. Nor did she notify me. I pinged her the following day, reminding her that she’d missed her appointment with me, and inquiring if she was okay. Turns out she got ‘stuck in a meeting’. Apparently Priscilla didn’t think to text me, email me, call me or excuse herself from the meeting, letting the others know that she needed to alert her appointment (me) that she couldn’t make it.
No big deal.
During Luanne’s weekly coaching call we talked, at length, about a position that had just opened up in an org she’d had her eye on. The position was a great next step for her – lateral, but with a solid chance of a promotion in a short period of time. I sent her back to her office to follow up immediately with the executive leader who’d thrown Luanne’s hat in the ring.
When Luanne didn’t get back to me, as promised, I reached out to her instead. It turns out that when Luanne returned to her office, there was a line of people eager to talk to her right away. Instead of telling them that she was unavailable, (and requesting they schedule something later in the day) she met with them, and threw her own priorities out the window.
No big deal. Or was it?
Ellen, Priscilla and Luanne stepped over things in rather obvious ways, though all culturally excusable. Most often when we step over things, it’s far more subtle. The things we step over could be commitments, deadlines, details— anything that interferes with us being the highest version of ourselves.
We make dozens and dozens of choices every day, ranging in urgency from now to never. Most of us have a perpetual to-do list that is seldom shorter than the day before. Life is inexact. Stuff comes up. Priorities shift. Emergencies happen. We overwork. We over-commit. Fair enough.
The things we step over might appear to be the little stuff- a few minutes late for a meeting, a call that was accidentally left off our calendar, a subcontractor who’s payment was delayed because of a clerical error, a slip of a secret you swore to, an employee you forgot to get back to you when she mentioned her mom was quickly failing.
You know what I mean. We all do this.
We step over things hoping no one will notice because, after all, there are only so many hours in the day. We step over things because, well, other people do it too. We step over things because we tell ourselves we’re human and nobody’s perfect. We step over things because we think it’s easier. We ignore the things we step over because we think no one will notice. We get sloppy, careless and distracted and then we wonder why we missed our goals, fell short of our aspirations or had dents in our reputation.
But, it IS a big deal, and the greater our commitment
to leading high impact lives,
the bigger the deal it is. You are a big deal!
What’s at stake? Our integrity.
You know– that value that we say we value, but that seems to have more flexibility than Gumby (apologies to Gumby).
Here’s the trade off- every time we step over something, Every time we pretend we don’t see some obvious flaw in our integrity we diminish our impact… Click To Tweet So what we step over, ends up stepping on us, in the long run.
The next time you step over something, step back and do it over. You will feel incredibly free, powerful and conscientious! No more pretending you didn’t see what you saw, or didn’t know what you knew.
What are you most likely to step over? How do you notice this? What do you do? I really want to hear from you, so please leave your comment in the section below.
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