Those Pesky Little Flies!

Quote of the Week

“No fear. No distractions. The ability to let that which does not matter truly slide.”

— Chuck Palahniuk

Those Pesky Little Flies!

by Philip Humbert

For the first time in memory, we are being invaded by little house flies! Fortunately, I’m not talking about thousands or even hundreds, but they are around and they “bug” me (sorry about the pun!). I must have killed a dozen already this morning!

I don’t know where they’re coming from, but I want to be rid of them!

What do flies have to do with success and why should you care?

Because you have “flies,” too. Hopefully, you don’t have actual flying insects invading your home, but you have pesky little nuisances that disrupt your concentration and undermine your productivity. And these flies struck me as the perfect metaphor to talk about the “harmless” annoyances that destroy our dreams and undermine our lives.

As a coach, I work with wonderful clients. The people who hire me (and most of my friends and acquaintances, for that matter) are highly motivated and very talented. They have all the “components” to live extraordinary lives and achieve anything they wish, but too often their actual results are disappointing.

There are so many things they want to do, and have, and experience! There are so many things they “should” be able to achieve! And yet the life they truly want seems just out of reach. They live lives of “almost but not quite.”

Now there are a variety of reasons for this, but the most common is a failure to eliminate the “flies” that hold them back.

Modern life is literally filled with little “flies.” The phone rings in the middle of an important meeting, our computer jams up, or the car needs work. Our children’s day-care provider lets us down and a thousand other things annoy us and drain our energy and – this is the important part – we FAIL TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT!

This is the critical distinction. In a rich, complex life, things will go wrong and when it happens, we want to be big enough and mature enough to deal with it. Stuff happens, get used to it!

BUT – if the same little nuisances and distractions and disappointments happen over and over again, you MUST deal with them once and for all!

When you watch the Olympics or Wimbledon or the NBA championships, do you think any of those athletes are competing with a broken shoelace? Do any of them permit a worn uniform or faulty equipment or ill-fitting shoes to undermine their performance? Not on your life!

And yet how many of us try to climb the ladder of success with computers we don’t trust? How many try to “get by” with an office that is cluttered, or a car that embarrasses us? Or, here is one of my personal “pet peeves” – professionals who fail to invest in a good phone or headset, or insist on using their cell phone for business, so every phone call becomes an irritation?

Eliminate the little flies!

As I’ve been typing this, three different flies have buzzed around my head or landed on my desk and each time I’d get distracted, make spelling errors or lose my train of thought. I’m happy to tell you, those three flies are deceased.

Do not permit the little “flies” to keep you from climbing the ladder of success! High achievers pay attention to the details. They take nothing for granted. They get to meetings on time, they show up rested, focused and ready for action! Winners always put their best foot forward. So should you!

Copyright(c) 2007, all rights reserved. Written by Dr. Philip E. Humbert – Author, Speaker & Success Strategist. Visit his website for over 300 articles, tips and ideas like this one, and be sure to subscribe to his weekly newsletter! Visit him at

Coaching Call to Action

Sometimes, for me to pay attention to the flies they need to get to be the size of small birds. You can imagine the havoc that is then created. This week I’m going to respond to the “flies” in a new way. I am going to thank them for the information, make a note to take care of the fly/issue and then create a plan to be fly free. And you?