Saturday, September 26, 2015

Steer into the skid

The other day my boss called me into the office and said the words that have been at the beginning of nearly every bad conversation I've ever had in my life.

"Joe we need to talk."

Nobody needs to talk.

"The thing is," he went on. "I've been going over your numbers and feedback ratings from clients, and, well-"

(Bracing for impact)

"The thing is they are outstanding. Like, top of the class outstanding. Really strong positive feedback. So what I wanted to ask was, what's your secret?"

Come again??

After clarifying I wasn't about to be written up or anything, I thought about the question.

"Okay, Here is MY answer as to how to be a good psychologist. By Joe Guse, equire. Ready?"


"Spend like 20 years screwing up every aspect of your life. Rack up some bad credit while you're at it. Burn a few bridges. Let them burn! Let good women exit your life without a word. There will always be more! Neglect your health. Drink too much. Don't exercise. And one day you'll wake up and realize that everything a client comes in with may be something you know something about, because you've screwed up just as bad."

Boss- "Jesus, Joe I wasn't looking for a real answer."

BUT. There is some evidence that I may be on to something. Jung said, "It is only the wounded healer who can heal."

I've certainly put that idea to the test.

Also though, I do have some cool handouts. Here is one of them. 

Change, Accept, or Let Go
Which brings us to the title of this essay.

Steer into the skid. Advice I got form my driver's ed teacher many years ago. If you're going to wreck,  don't try and radically overcorrect the wheel. You'll make things worse.

Steer into the skid. 

There's a psychological lesson in here as well. Much of what goes wrong in our lives has to do with avoiding things as opposed to confronting them. And boy do we get good at deceiving ourselves about these things. "I'll start exercising one of these days." "Someday soon I'll talk to my boss." "I'll work up the courage to tell her how I feel."

Which brings us back to the handout.

Change accept or let go. Where we often go wrong is in thinking about things over and over without trying to change them and without being able to let them go. That's called rumination, and it's at the root of a number of psychological problems.

It particularly loves to show up right before we're trying to go to sleep. Or 3 in the morning sometimes.

One tool I've found very helpful is a simple whiteboard. Start by writing one thing down that may help you get closer to solving your problem. Keep adding to your list as you get more confident. It feels good to start checking off those items.

As for me, I'm the proud owner of both a moped and a motorcycle.

I have plenty of skids in front of me. Both on the road and in my life. Lessons are repeated until they are ingrained. Then we forget them again. 
Sometimes we have to learn these things all over again. 

Even us "experts."