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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

“Popeye Syndrome”

Invariably everyone has a time in their life when things seem to create too much emotion and they just want to do something about the situation.  Actions that take place at this time can cover a wide range of responses.  Sometimes, the actions are planned and at other times, the actions are spontaneous.  The breaking point is what a friend of mine once called the “Popeye Syndrome.”

For those people that do not know who Popeye was, you missed the cartoons on Saturday morning when growing up.  Popeye was a sailor that had a girl friend named Olive Oyl and a friend named Wimpy and a rival named Bluto.  In many episodes, Popeye got into a fight with Bluto, a much bigger and stronger looking sailor.  Bluto would always over power Popeye until Popeye ate his spinach, which turned him into an ultra-strong person.  Then he would win the day by defeating Bluto.  It is the point when in the fight that Popeye realized he cannot take any more abuse and he says “ I had all I can stands and can’t stands no more”; what my friend referred to as the ”Popeye Syndrome.”

It is important to recognize that this point in your business will come.  The events may be widely different.  They may be during intense negotiations or debate.  You realize that you are working far too hard for the quantity of business coming in the door.  A competitor has taken much of your business away.  An employee created significant problems, which will take you days or weeks to correct.

Hopefully, you will realize the timings and situation but you most likely will not feel like taking the step back that you really need in order to develop a plan to solve the issue.  Your stress level is usually too high and you just want the issue OVER. Secondly, you are prone to not considering the issues carefully, and you will feel less like speaking with a person you trust to help develop a solution.  The potential that you act too quickly and with little planning can result in situations that are even worse.

It is important that you learn to recognize the “Popeye Syndrome” in you when it occurs.  It is even more important that you train yourself to act in a manner that is not so spontaneous and that you consult with others.  Planning can help reduce the possibility that your intentions to relieve your stress will just make the issue worse.

In short, when you “had all you can stands and can’t stands no more”, take a break. Maybe go to the Gym and work it off or take a walk.  Wait a few days if time permits.  Think about solutions and discuss them with a close confidant.  Always try to execute a plan that will improve your stress and the situation.

Oh, and as far as Wimpy goes, my favorite line from him was “I will gladly pay you Tuesday, for a hamburger today.”  You may recognize similar lines from people you work with that seem to want things from you free.  Try to control those situations or you will eventually just get upset with your friends or work associates.

Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon