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a blog by Chris Barrow

Addicted to the fight


I was watching an episode of Ray Donovan (Season 3) a few evenings ago (no spoilers please), when a female character commented about our hero:

You don’t give a XXXX about the cars, the money and the power do you? You’re just addicted to the fight.

Which had me thinking.

The problem with being addicted to the fight (and I say this about myself and the clients I work with) is that the owners of small businesses (especially lifestyle businesses) often make the mistake of getting addicted to the fight to not fail, rather than the fight to succeed.

We have a habit of getting attached to ideas that are sometimes fundamentally flawed – a marketing programme that isn’t producing an ROI, a team member who isn’t performing/behaving, a clinical procedure that isn’t going well – and fall into the trap of thinking that the solution is to FIX IT (at all costs), when in fact the correct solution is to walk away, admit a temporary defeat and live to fight another day.

We fantasise that walking away from the fight is a declaration of weakness that will have those observing regard us as failures. Trying to not fail can be a fatal error.

Guilty as charged.

Not failing has, for me, sometimes become more addictive than succeeding – especially when there are egos at stake.

I like to think that one of the ways in which I have matured as a business owner and a coach is to have the strength to recognise addiction to the fight (in myself and others) and make the difficult call to request a graceful withdrawal or tactical retreat.

Stop chasing that business idea, it isn’t going to work.

Stop trying to sell tickets for that gig – not enough people want to go.

Stop trying to motivate that person – they don’t want to be motivated.

Stop spending money on that marketing campaign – you aren’t seeing the enquiries.

Stop trying to get investors for your big idea – it’s the wrong moment.

Stop giving that discount – it will ruin you.

Stop tolerating that person’s behaviour – they are saboteurs.

I’ve been sacked by clients for giving advice like that – because they were so addicted to the fight that they didn’t want to hear it.

Sometimes we all need a friend (or a coach) to tell us when our addiction has taken over from our common sense – I now welcome that advice from others and I’ll keep on giving it to you.

Are there any fights that you are currently addicted to – that you need to stop?

Let me know if you need help – I’ve become an expert at this – I’ve done my 10,000 hours.

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