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IMPLOSION: Destroyed From Within

Implosion: imˈplōZHən/

"When something implodes, it explodes inward — instead of outward. With extremely large buildings, it helps to implode them rather than explode them, because by falling inward they take up less space. "

The reason it is important to stay in touch with who you are, what you're doing and why you're doing it, is to remain aware of what is happening inside of you. The day-to-day demands of life and business require that we make decisions about tasks: "put this off for later," "address that now because it's urgent", "postpone the important discussion until somebody can deal with it", etc. Unfortunately, we might make decisions about our tasks based on time and not how important those things are to company mission or life priorities. We put off the important things because they require the most time while we handle the easy things that can be done quickly. Not addressing the things that matter most, however, will weigh on us until we begin to lose sleep, customers or, tragically, our life compass. The result: Implosion.

Life can go on like this for businesses or individuals until a crisis happens to disrupt these processes. For businesses that crisis can be the thing happening inside the company leaders chose to ignore: an unhealthy corporate culture, growing mistrust of leadership, or the team's disconnect from the company or each other. For individuals, the crisis can also be something happening internally that someone chose to ignore: an unhealthy relationship (or set of relationships), a disconnect from your own set of values or priorities, an unhealthy work or home environment. For some the crisis can spark an implosion. Implosion is different from an explosion, where something that happens outside destroys your company. An implosion happens when the source of destruction is inside the thing being destroyed.

So how do we guard against implosion? Here are three things you can do today that could prevent an implosion in your business or personal life:

1. If you have a business, meet with your HR Director sooner than later. If anyone has the pulse on the morale, culture and human potential in your organization, it should be the HR Director. If they can't identify potential "implosives" (not people, by the way, but situations) either your company is amazingly on track or you need a new HR Director. The financial costs of an unhealthy work environment can be high. If you still believe HR is the rubber stamp for what you want to do, read this article:

2. If you have a business, meet with your key leaders for honest and safe conversations. These meetings are where those you trust with your business are free to speak freely without concern about retaliation because you don't like what they said. Invite them not to talk about what you accomplished with flying colors, but about what your company sucks at, and why. Be prepared for the answers by checking your ego at the door.

3. If you have a business and can't have an open conversation with your key leaders or team, hire a coach or consultant to do it for you. And the coach needs to know going in who's the client: you or your company/church. If the client is your company, you may learn some things you don't like. If you're the client, you may still learn some things you don't like, but you won't be blind-sighted in case of an implosion.

If you are struggling personally, take a pause immediately, get a journal and try the following exercise to help identify what may be happening with you.

Picture yourself on a busy sidewalk with hundreds of people walking in the same direction.

1. Are you excited, comfortable, or being dragged along in the direction you are currently going?

2. If you can't sense your direction is it because you are afraid, angry or lost?

If you are afraid, identify "of what".

If you are angry, identify "about what."

If you are lost, identify when you last saw your compass, the principle(s) that give your life direction?

3. Decide to remedy what you discover by creating a plan for change. That plan can start with something as simple as "Get up today," or as complicated as a life change that aligns you with where your compass says you should be headed.

Avoiding an implosion means identifying and addressing flammable items in your business or life, BEFORE they blow. Personally, it helps to remember circumstances that cause seething inside of you can contribute to an implosion. Practice having uncomfortable conversations before you implode; you may safe relationships and maintain your spiritual and emotional health.

Michele Aikens is managing partner of the Joseph Company Consulting, and lead coach. Contact her to find out how to avoid your own implosion.

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