matter who you are or what you do, you can’t avoid an occasional interaction
that you sense will be, well, tense, contentious or generally uncomfortable. In
these moments, your gut gives you two options: prepare for battle or run and
according to authors of the book Crucial Conversations there is a third
option. When communication is headed towards conflict, these authors encourage
you to ask yourself three questions:
One, what do you want for this person?
Two, what do you want for yourself?
And, three, what do you want for the relationship?
benefit of reflecting on these questions is that this line of thinking pulls
your brain out of the primitive “fight or flight” mindset and engages a higher
order of consideration. That alone will soften tensions and get you in the
right frame of mind to empower a more productive result.
In Stephen Covey’s renowned book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he advocates that for us to have the best possible relationships, we
need to start by employing empathetic listening skills. That is, we should be
listening with the intent to understand as opposed to listening with the intent
Through listening to understand, we place ourselves
in someone else’s shoes. We see the world through their eyes. And, as best we
can, we understand their way of thinking. In essence, through the level of
listening that Covey promotes we achieve the capacity to understand or feel
what another person is experiencing.
Certainly, with this level of understanding, we
better position ourselves to serve them, which is important. But an added benefit
is that by engaging in this empathetic listening we increase the likelihood
that people will listen to us with the intent to understand.
It’s a long-standing Olympic
tradition that during opening ceremonies each participating country selects a representative
from its delegate of athletes to carry the nation’s flag.
Each representative then carries
its country’s flag high and proud as they process around the venue. However,
when they pass in front of the host nation’s lead dignitary, they dip their
flag in deference to that official and the host country.
Every country does this. Everyone
… except the United States.
You see, at the 1908
London Olympics, the United States flag bearer Ralph Rose refused to dip the American
flag for King Edward VII. When questioned about it Rose proclaimed, “The American
flag bows before no earthly king.”
No doubt, you’re great in
your own right. Stand tall with pride. And like the American flag, don’t bow
before anyone on this earth.
Try this: Walk 100 steps in any
direction and then walk back. Can you feel the burn? Is your body sculpted? Of
Now try this: Go to the library, pick up
a business or leadership book and read the back cover. Are your business
“smarts” appreciably improved for doing that? It’s not likely.
Final exercise: Log onto social media
(LinkedIn, Twitter, whatever) and ‘like’ a handful of posts. Is your network
now teaming with loads of great, new relationships? Nope! No way.
These three exercises are meant to
illustrate a point. If you want to change yourself, you need to challenge
yourself. A healthy life needs you to invest more than a couple hundred steps. An
improved business acumen requires real experience and consistent learning. Your
network won’t grow appreciably with only a few likes or shares.
The lesson is simple: If it doesn’t
challenge you, it’s not going to change you.
Look around. No, the world is not
perfect, including your corner of it.
Things are amiss in society.
There are initiatives that are not hitting on all cylinders. And there are some
that aren’t functioning at all.
And there are things that are not
only amiss, they’re completely missing. There are underserved pieces of your
community. There are programs that have disappeared. And there are programs
that never were.
No, things are not perfect. But
you have a choice. You can complain and rail about what’s not. Or you can roll
up your sleeves and become part of what will be. After all, sometimes you have
to create that which you want to be part of.
So, if you want a better world
around you, take a step today – no matter small it might be – to build your
community into what you want it to be.
you ever seen a fully-grown tree? No? Of course not. No one has. Why not? Because
trees grow and grow until the day they die. As long as they are a live, they
reach, expand and strive to be more than they are.
like that tree. Reach, expand and strive to be more than you are. Continue to
grow your mind. Never stop learning. Be a perpetual student of knowledge.
never know where that next great idea is going to come from. You never know
what you might discover. You can’t predict when a small tidbit of new
information could change your world in a big way.
do not have to enroll in night school or get another degree, but continue to
read, attend seminars or programs, and listen to podcasts. Do whatever you can
to keep your mind engaged. And commit to doing this until the day you die.
2008, Ron Hunter, then basketball coach at Indiana University-Purdue University
of Indianapolis, began coaching shoeless. He did so not because he could not
afford shoes. He did so because he could not pass up helping those in need.
see, Hunter was looking to draw attention to fact that millions and millions of
children around the world go barefoot because they don’t have access to shoes
… and even if they did, they could not afford them.
this awareness, Hunter inspired others to coach shoeless. And through this
combined influence, they created a movement that resulted in supporters and
fans donating thousands and thousands of shoes for international charities.
matter who you are, no matter what you do, you have influence. Do your corner
of the world a favor: No matter how big or small, use your influence for good.
one thing you can be sure, everyone wants to be liked. It’s an innate desire
that’s as old as recorded time.
people want to associate with those who like them. In fact, they want to
surround themselves with those that simply delight in who they are and to
achieve that they subconsciously return the feeling. So, here’s the lesson: If
you want to build your network far and wide with people who like you, make a
point of finding ways to like others.
everyone you encounter, take a quick survey of their interpersonal
characteristics. While they may not be perfect (as none of us are), no doubt
there is something about them that makes you declare “I like this person.”
it is, seize upon that one thing and focus on it. Your affection for them will
grow and that will come through as you interact. And then, they will grow to
like you in return.