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In the business environment, and also in a social sphere, we as humans will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid discomfort and pain.
Even if we know that sometimes we need to confront the cause of the pain and get past the barrier that holds us back in many ways, we do our best to avoid doing so.
We all want to be better, more productive managers or employees, to fulfil our potential and achieve the things that are possible.
We want the best for ourselves and those around us, but sometimes it’s simply easier to stay out of the light and retain that which we believe gives us comfort.
Applying this to quitting smoking, in the Beyond Nicotine programme, and in our corporate rallies, we play a game which is akin to placing a pebble in one’s shoe, in that once it is there, it will irritate us until acted upon.
We look at the excuses, justifications and outright lies we tell ourselves when examining reasons for continuing to smoke, and de mystify them, the rationale being “If you name the game, you win the game!”
So for example, the excuse “I can quit anytime I like”, is challenged by the question “Well, why don’t you then?”
Let’s identify this as the procrastination game.
What about the time game? “I’ll quit at new year; after the budget project; when my assignment is done; at 12 midnight on New Year’s Eve.”
Do you recognise a pattern? How about the justification game? (Granny smoked 60 a day and lived to 110 years old) The point is, once one sees and names the game, basically, the game is up!
It will never ring true again, and like the pebble will be a constant irritant.
Managers and supervisors are equally as susceptible to this trap. They don’t always know how to approach the problem, and often wish it away in games of a different sort.
Avoidance game “Let them smoke, it relaxes them” Actually smoking does the opposite, it constricts blood vessels and raises heartbeat.
Justification game. “It does not take up much time” Doesn’t it? Have the lost minutes ever been calculated? Five10-minute breaks a day amounts to two lost days per employee per month!
Helping to instil a culture in a company of wellness through, amongst other factors, non smoking needs a concerted effort. One needs a caring and committed management, and the workforce needs to be approached carefully.
Ordering smokers to attend, a rally is a non starter, like asking turkeys to celebrate Christmas!
A softer approach could be: “We care about you, so we have asked a company with a high success rate in helping smokers to quit to visit us. Who would like to attend?”
This will start a process and the rewards to the smoker and the company are enormous.
l Michael Hook is the spokesman for the Beyond Nicotine 15-day quit smoking programme.
Contact email@example.com, or see the web and blogsite at www.beyondnicotine.com