As a child I never had a security blanket, but I did have a stuffed animal named “Cutie-pie.”
I can still see him (yes, somehow I knew it was male). He was white with black eyes, black nose, red velvet ears, and a red tongue. He was in a sitting position, and had a small tail. I slept with Cutie-pie for at least eight years. He watched television with me when I was sick and adorned my bed when I was not. He moved with my family, always offering the same comfort no matter where we lived.
Then, one day, our new puppy chewed off his eyes, his tongue, and his nose. There was blood on his neck since our puppy was teething; it was all very vampire-like. I was devastated – my safety, my security, the one thing in my life that was not supposed to change had been changed. My mom remade the eyes with paper and buttons, replaced his nose with a small cloth ball, and refashioned a tongue from one of her nightshirts, but things would never quite be the same again.
One day, I gave Cutie-Pie the appropriate funeral. I realized that while he had served me well, it was time to let him go. He was also a little gross at this point.
We all have our security blankets that we grasp during times of change, and sometimes that’s not a bad thing. There is so much transition going on around us, we need to know that something is holding still. I think that’s why some leaders keep direct reports who are mediocre at best, but have been with them for years. Those employees are their security blanket – someone who they know will be loyal and faithful.
There comes a time, however, where we need to determine if our security blankets are helping or hurting us. Ask yourself the following:
Think about it. Security blankets serve a purpose, but eventually they need to be given their own funerals. Because, eventually, that security blanket will become an excuse, or a fear, or a reason to avoid making a positive change in your life.
I can still imagine the comfort Cutie-Pie brought to me, but I also know that there was a time to let him go. What security blanket do you need to release today?