I was having one of those conversations with my wife and son. We were talking about something that someone did that would precipitate a difficult conversation. Granted, I wasn’t excited about having this conversation with someone I love, but some actions left unresolved can begin to destroy a relationship. The actions themselves may not destroy the relationship, but not resolving the issues creates a slippery slope that could.
So, in the midst of this conversation, my son blurts out, “Dad, you just have to eat the frog”! I said, “What in the world does that mean”? He went on to disclose to me that his boss, a long time good friend of mine, had recently shared this relational golden nugget with him.
Here it is.
If someone handed you a live frog and informed you that you had to eat it, how would you begin? Would you lick it to death? Or maybe you would start with the head or its legs? Would you dose it first with salt? How would you eat the frog?
My friend said; when you have to have a difficult conversation, don’t delay. Eat the frog. Just plop it in your mouth and get it over with. His perspective is that the more he thinks about the eventual conversation, the more anxious, or worked up he is going to get going into the meeting. One of two things happens at this point. We either experience paralysis by analysis (we over think it and decide to do nothing), or, we envision several possible painful outcomes. When this happens we go into the conversation EXPECTING one of those painful outcomes and at the first sign that one is developing, we jump to the final conclusion and PREDETERMINE the outcome of the discussion.
My friends advice; just eat the frog. Pull the person aside as soon as possible, and ask the hard question. It will save you days of anxious inner talk that will predispose you to possible failure.
Don’t delay. Eat the frog.