On Confronting Hairy Monsters

Everybody has hairy monsters in the life. You know them. The list of difficult tasks that you’ve been meaning to get to and have been avoiding for months or maybe even years. You know you need to do them. You know they are high value. But they are just complicated and frustrating enough that you have just stuffed them under the bed and hoped that they won’t come out again. Perhaps you prioritize other tasks or get busy with other chores, but the monsters keep lurking until you one day take them on.

Tasks that pull at us often do so because they are actually really important and may even hold the key to massive growth in your personal or professional life. These are high value and high impact tasks that once finished may be the ticket to a lot of growth and changes that you are desperate to make. When I made a list for myself there was a lot on there.

Here are a few highlights:

1. Our family will
2. Not really knowing how to break down a Bach Fugue. I play Bach all the time and never learned how to properly break it down and phrase it correctly.
3. My professional contacts list is a such a mess that I never use it and when I do go to use it, it’s an utter disaster.
4. I signed up for an online course in booking gigs and never actually started using it, even though I really need the information in the course.

When I look at this list, I break out in hives. These are all the skeletons in my closet that I have been haunted by in so many capacities for so many years. I have decided that this year is the year I am going to tackle them. So, I decided to just go for it. Growth mindset, here I come!

So I spent a week looking at my list every day. Then I organized my closets. Then I cleaned out the fridge. Then I posted some stuff on Facebook. At the end of the week, I realized that I was no closer to completing a damn thing and the monsters were growling at me more and more. I finally got sick of thinking about it and talking about it.

Action Steps

I sat down and made a list of action steps that I could take to made some progress.

I asked around for a lawyer who handles and estate and made an appointment with him. He sent me information and a checklist and I scheduled a time to sit down with my husband and discuss.

I called a classical piano friend of mine and booked a lesson. I specifically told her I needed to learn how to properly break down a Bach Fugue and that I was super mortified that I didn’t already know how to. (The lesson was completely amazing and productive and I have been practicing every day. I am going in to see her next month to tackle the Sonata form)

I made time in my schedule to work through the online course, which took a lot less time than I thought it would. (I worked on it during my lunch break from teaching and after my son went to bed in a few evenings). I took copious notes on the course and made a list of action steps I need to take, which is now printed and sitting on my desk.

The online course actually provided a lot of advice and resources on how to create a working professional contact lists, so I started a folder on my computer where I gathered all the bits and pieces of contact lists I had so they’re all in one place. The master list will be tackled this week, when I have a 4 hour uninterrupted block of time to do so.


Three weeks later, my family will and estate is now finalized and filed, my master contact list is nearly finished, I am practicing a Bach fugue every day following the steps of my wonderful teacher and I have a master plan in place to book more jazz gigs. In short, my work life has laser beamed forward and I have had the most productive 3 weeks of my career.

I will point out that a lot of little tasks have gone unfinished around our home: I’m a bit behind on my emailing, there is a basket of clean laundry that hasn’t been put away in over a week and I’m pretty sure we’re all about to run out of clean underwear, but I have tackled several core issues that I have been procrastinating for years. I am also noticing how much momentum this has given me to complete the rest of my (very long) list. Now that I’ve identified and tackled some of my hairy monsters, I feel a lot more courage to tackle the rest of them.

What are some of your hairy monsters? How could you start working on them this week?

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