Happy Triskaidekaphobia Day

by  John E. Smith  |  Self Leadership
Happy Triskaidekaphobia Day

Well, it’s that day again – Friday The Thirteenth. It’s when all manner of bad things are supposed to happen to us, and just because the thirteenth day of the Gregorian calendar falls on a Friday.

Silly superstition, right? Of course, right. However, not to an estimated 17 to 21 million Americans, according to the Stress Management Center & Phobia Institute.

That’s a lot of folks cowering under the blanket, not wanting to get out of bed on this day, suffering from Triskaidekaphobia.

The reality is that on Friday The Thirteenth of any given month in any given year, bad things have happened and will happen. I guarantee it. Of course, I can make that same guarantee about every other blessed day in the year. Stuff happens as part of life on a regular, but not always predictable basis.

Superstitions are simply things we repeat to ourselves as true and modify our thoughts, our behavior, and our feelings to reinforce our beliefs. The words always and never come up often when we talk about our superstitions. 

Of course, we educated folks do not live our lives according to this or other silly superstitions. That would be like believing something that is true, but not in the way we think it is true, and we all know better, right?

As leaders, trainers, coaches, and consultants we would not…

  • Continue to support and use outdated theories about how people think, act, and feel, along with a one tool, just because they made sense once upon a time and we like the familiarity.
  • Always use that favorite one tool or approach to the exclusion of other newer tools, because we experience success with our hand-picked client base using that one tool. Think one tool to rule them all.
  • Continue to use whatever we have at hand and in our toolkit, while insisting that the clients, employees, or audiences just try harder and have faith in our one tool.

If the above questions ring bells for you, try these instead…

  • Always learn new approaches and theories, looking for what might be valuable and applicable to what you do. We want those we serve to be life-long learners, so we need to walk the walk with them.
  • Never restrict yourself to one approach in dealing with those who you seek to lead or help. It does not matter what famous person you studied under at what prestigious institution of higher learning.
  • Always give the employee and the client the benefit of this one viewpoint: They are doing the best they can with what they have to work with and want to do better. Help them do that.
  • Never refuse to work with people simply because they do not fit your chosen One Tool or niche or are not motivated. Stretch yourself in a professional and responsible way. Get a mentor/coach and expand your repertoire.

Well, I’ve said my piece it’s your turn…

  • What have I said that you agree with and why?
  • What have I said that you think is horse manure and why?
  • What would you say instead?
Tell me your thoughts about Friday The 13th!
Photo Credit: Fotolia Elena Milevska

About The Author

Articles By john-smith
I enjoy helping people learn and grow through intentional, strategic, and social interventions. I coach, teach, train, facilitate, organize, write, speak, design, and lead at the intersection of leadership, learning, and human behavior. I am a CCE Board Certified Coach (BCC) with specializations in both Leadership/Business and Life/Personal coaching. My primary blog is The Strategic Learner on Wordpress.  »  View Profile

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