I recently had a dialogue with a client who was sharing his frustrations about the many people who were "getting to him" lately. As I listened to his lament and reflected on the possibility that several of his recent challenges were self-induced, I remembered the wise words of an Ethos colleague who once suggested in a presentation, "If you don't want someone to get your goat, don't tell people where you tie it up."
I chuckled at the time, and did again as I was typing that sentence, but I love the concept. As leaders, I don't think we have to appear unflappable at all times, but I believe it's in our best interests to avoid getting bent out of shape over every little thing.
Those "bent out of shape" moments reveal our goats. And while I believe it's inevitable that someone will find one of our goats, I also believe it's even more likely that someone will intentionally seek out that goat again if we over-react when it's seen the first time. Call me cynical (I prefer "realist"), but I suspect you work with some people who go looking for your goats!
I don't know where your goats are tied up, but if you find yourself with a whole herd of them, it might be time to get rid of a few. And if you can't get rid of them, at least you need to tie them up out of sight.
Here's to some goat-herding!