Have you ever forgotten to RSVP for a party although you knew you were going? Have you ever paid a bill late when the money was sitting in the bank? Have you ever thought you had a conversation just because you knew what you were going to say?
Well, I have…just ask my husband how many times I’ve asked, “Did I tell you that, or did I just imagine that I told you that?”
You may be relieved (along with my husband) to know you’re not crazy. This “premature sense of completeness” happens when you finalize your intentions, either publically or in your own mind, leading to “symbolic self-completion.” In other words, you think you’ve done something just because you thought about doing it.
The phenomena is intensified when you verbalize your intentions to someone else and they acknowledge your idea. When you say, “I’m going to hire more qualified salespeople using personality profiling,” and your Sales Manager says, “Wow! I can’t wait to meet them!” you may be less likely to go out and hire those talented new salespeople. You’ve created a false sense of accomplishment although you haven’t done a darned thing. If you find yourself falling into this Freudian fantasyland, try stating your solution differently: “The next time we interview a new salesperson, I want to do a personality profile.”
You might blame your psyche if you forget to pick up your spouse’s birthday gift even though you’ve known for months what you wanted to give them – just don’t try that psychobabble with Ms. Jones. Is there anything you’ve been meaning to do, you need to do, you know you need to do – but you just haven’t done?
Ms. Jones has about one inch of patience for your good intentions. She wants action.