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THRASH/THraSH/verb: Struggle in a wild or desperate way to do something. Ex. “two months of thrashing around on my own have produced nothing”

The day sits before you and you find that you don’t “feel like it.” So, you fill your time with activity that distracts, pretends, and ultimately skirts the one (or ten) thing(s) you really needed to do. Hiding behind the activity, you move no closer to your primary objective as you commend yourself for a full, busy day.

Meaningless Activity

When we spend our day busy with meaningless activities, we are thrashing. Rather than moving ourselves, our team, our clients, or our company closer to success, we are distracting ourselves, running from our goals, and deceiving those who are counting on us.

As harsh as it sounds, we all have those days. As Cicero said in the movie, GladiatorSome days I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to.” Life’s duties aren’t always fun. We often find ourselves stuck with tasks for which we have little enthusiasm. Why?


Perhaps we don’t like our job. The industry, people, duties, products, hours, or the sheer fact that we have to get up in the morning and spend a chunk of time doing something doesn’t meet our definition of success. If this is your life, get a new job.

Maybe it’s our attitude. Waking up in the morning, the tired, grumpy, side of us emerges and just doesn’t feel like it. “I don’t wanna.” Life just seems lame. Stuck in the rut of routine and necessity, we see the day ahead as a long list of “have to’s” that seem meaningless or unnecessary. If this is you for more than a few minutes, seek counseling, take time off, or find gratitude. Still not working? Read this post a few more times.

Perhaps we don’t understand our job. If we are working in a role without proper training or clear expectations, then we may thrash as we try to find a path to success. In this case, our hearts may be in the right place but we are ill-prepared to navigate the fuzziness in front of us. Without clarity, we are likely to experience a slide in our attitude and a distaste for our job.

Maybe we don’t like our boss. He or she refuses to appreciate the hard work we put in or doesn’t recognize our amazing talent. We continue to show up, make a difference, give our heart and soul but he just doesn’t get it. The job or company may be perfectly fine but we just can’t get beyond that loser for whom we work.

We might be distracted. Are there things happening outside of the office that are consuming our headspace? Family drama, health issues, financial worries, relationship problems, and a host of painful worldly distractions can cause us to thrash. Our scattered selves continue to make a physical appearance but belie our unfocused efforts to do our jobs.

We could be a victim of our circumstances. Life has continued to throw us curveballs and presented difficulties that we just can’t seem to overcome. If we were given a chance, picked for the right role, or simply stopped having such obstacles thrown in our way, we could be highly motivated and successful in our working life.

The Path to Ineffectiveness

Regardless, when we thrash, we walk the path to ineffectiveness. Things don’t get done. We don’t hit our goals or meet expectations. We let ourselves and those who count on us down. As human beings, this will occasionally happen and our system is designed to absorb some of the bumps. When it becomes the norm rather than the exception, we risk our jobs and more.

What makes someone effective? The dictionary says that to be effective is to be successful in producing a desired result. The effective person gets the right things done. Much has been written on the path to effectiveness (one of my favorites is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People). Please, read the books, listen to the podcasts, watch the videos, or attend the seminars that provide guidance on evolving your own effectiveness. We really can’t get enough.

Stop Thrashing, Start Choosing

If you need something quicker than a full mental/emotional makeover, then just stop thrashing. Stop making excuses. Stop blaming other people. Stop letting the persistent annoyances knock you off track. Stop being the victim of a drama over which you feel you have no control. The reality is that you have way more control than you think. Stop believing the lie that you don’t.

Once you stop thrashing, start choosing. Choose a path. Choose gratitude. Choose service. Choose people who inspire, motivate, and believe. Choose positive activity. Choose to focus. Choose self discipline. Choose ownership of everything that happens in your life. Choose energy and enthusiasm. Choose to believe in those around you. Most importantly, choose to believe in yourself and in a life that is more than what you live today.

We’re nearly midway through January 2020. We all feel like last year flew by. Guess what? It only moves faster from here. You are the only one who can own your life, your choices, and your actions. Show up for yourself everyday and make the right choices. Especially when you don’t feel like it.


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