In running Aaron+Gould, and in a leadership role at my church, I have a fair few battles to deal with on a weekly basis – all around people. People are the most wonderful thing in life, yet they are also the most complex. Whether it’s work, family, marriage or friends, there are always battles in your relationships. We all have critics, complainers, contenders and competitors.
Battles aren’t wrong. Disagreement, fall outs, and then making amends is like breaking a bone – when it heals, it makes the relationship stronger.
What I’ve been pondering this weekend is how do you decide what battles to fight, and which to leave? Is leaving a battle the same as loosing it? Or do you only loose if you fight and don’t win? Furthermoor, what makes a win?
I’ve always considered that you only go to war when the spoils are worth the endeavour.
That means you need to assess the scale of the battle and the potential scale of the outcome. Battling to get my wife to stop buying more shoes probably will take a lot of my emotional energy, and doesn’t have any spoils in the short term because she just doesn’t see the hundreds of shoes in the closet! However the potential long term outcome of the battle could cost me thousands of pounds over the coming years.
Determining long term spoil from short term spoil requires you to play the ‘what if’ game. What if we carry on spending money on shoes every month? What if I continue letting my child have their way even if it’s a small thing. What if I continue letting my critics go unchallenged, even though no ones listening now? What if I stopped that bully at work always forcing their opinion?
Playing the what-if game requires you know yourself and your goals pretty well. You don’t need to be precise, but you can’t be vague.
What do you guys think? How do you decide what to fight for?