Test Your Assumptions

What are you so convinced is true that you have not even entertained the idea that you might be entirely wrong?

I can almost guarantee there is something (everyone has their blind spots and false assumptions).  For example…

While preparing our yard for winter we discovered just how wrong we were about something.

Many years ago, we had help putting a metal pole in the ground so we could mount a square birdfeeder on top of it. It was in the perfect place when we first put it there but over time – trees were taken down, new winterberry bushes were planted, and things grew. The feeder was overshadowed by branches and instead of being “near the trees” was essentially “in the trees.”  No amount of smart pruning could fix this without making the bush look silly. Even the birds were confused.

We groaned about it but lived with it. Why? Because we thought the pole was cemented into the ground and would be impossible to pull out. Sure, you could hacksaw it off (the first solution that came to mind with cocktails on the deck) but 1) it is a few inches thick and 2) even if you could get it off flush with the ground, it would be a hazard.

Late this summer we wondered why no birds were eating the food out of it while they were emptying the other feeders regularly (different part of the yard). Turns out the feeder was broken, and they could no longer access the food.

Now we had an unusable and unwanted feeder in the middle of our bush. Not ideal.

We tolerated it thinking it was more work than we wanted to remove it right now.

While visiting my Dad I just happened to ask his opinion of what to do with it. He suggested giving the pole a push and see if it moves. If it does, there will be a way to get it out.

I am thinking… ok… but a straightforward way to get it out? Or a version of Dad spends five hours and three trips to the hardware store with blood, sweat, and tears “gets it out”?

Does not hurt to investigate.

After raking leaves and before wrapping it up for the day, I decided to give his theory a try. I assessed it with a small push, and it did budge.

Then I leaned into it a few times with all my weight , it quite easily bent to the ground and I was able to pull it out. The bottom was dangerously sharp metal, but other than that, a clean exit. The pole had been 6-8 inches deep in the ground, so we should be safe from any danger still lurking beneath.

I walked over to my wife holding up the pole and feeder and said “Well there you go! Like the tale of the monkey and the jar! Just let go!”

What else might we be assuming to be true that is not?

Where else are we believing something is not possible and not even giving it a go?

What nonsense are we tolerating and putting up with for no reason other than we “think” we must?

Powerful questions like these are important ones for life and business. It is easy to let them roll off the tongue or scroll past them on a page and go “Yes! How true!” and then just keep on scrolling. Operating as we always do, often with a big dash of unconsciousness.

I am guilty of doing that too.

Yet as I was standing in the yard on this crisp autumn day in the fading sun holding the pole feeder up in the air with a big smirk on my face, I felt like a hunter rounding the hill with dinner in hand.

It is a visceral thing to have your assumptions, even the small ones blow up in your face.

It is also so satisfying because who knows what else I am completely wrong about?

There is freedom and possibility in that.

Where might you benefit from testing your assumptions?

One of the most powerful parts of working with a coach and mentor is having your assumptions challenged. If you could use some of that liberating magic – schedule a discovery session and explore what freedom and possibility is out there waiting for you.

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