I am absolutely positive I know what I’m talking about. After all, I have been around the block a few times, have collected a few facts, listened to a few opinions and I am now certain that I have the RIGHT answer that will completely justified the reaction I’m about to launch.
The above can happen in our brain in less than a few seconds and convince us that our assumptions are facts. That what we perceive is ultimate reality. That a small pool of limited data much of what is derived from past experience (not the current one) is somehow correct. Our “right” decision leads to actions and starts a small or large chain of events. But wait. What if we’re wrong? Oops!
Challenging our assumptions is like quality control. If we want to remain credible it’s worth adding the step to our internal process. Before launching the reaction it’s best to ask what we really know for sure. What information might exist that we don’t have and what questions can we ask to challenge our conclusions? It might take a bit more time on the front end but think about what it can save you in the long run.
We get what we tolerate. Isn’t that a scary thought? There are people in our lives who will test us to see how much we will do for them, how much complaining we will listen to, or disrespectful behavior we will tolerate. Co-workers, family members, and friends will test us too. All in an attempt to discover our boundaries.
Asserting ourselves trains people how to treat us. It means we speak up instead of avoid situations and embrace difficult conversations to establish rules of engagement or clear expectations. It can begin with a request to create a better relationship between two people, or it can be as simple as not engaging or colluding with behavior that is not kind or productive.
We have far more power than we imagine or often utilize. It’s best to think twice about tolerating something that isn’t supporting a healthy exchange.
Always be writing your resume. Not that you will necessarily need it to sell yourself to the next employer, but because it’s the best way to direct your actions toward accomplishments that matter. Creating your resume challenges you to tell a story about who you are, what you’re good at, and what kind of impact you’re having on the world.
This is one of those exercises where you might want to start with the end in mind. What do you want your resume to say? That you led a high performance international team; built a social platform with 100,000 followers; or placed 100 dogs in loving homes. What would show that you are mastering your role and contributing to the world around you?
Once you have written your current, and your want-to-be resume, hone in on the gaps between what you have done and what you want to accomplish. You might consider the delta to be your new goal.
I learned two things this week. The first was that doing anything new stimulates endorphins for the brain. The second was if I don’t stimulate my brain, I’m going to diminish my ability to produce endorphins. The double whammy became quite the motivator.
Doing something new changes the biochemistry in our brain. It can even loosen thoughts and beliefs that keep us stuck in old patterns and bring a sense of fresh air to our minds. The new experience or activity promotes growth and generates new connections. Our brain wants to be awakened with new sounds, sights and smells and it thanks us for the nutrients by bringing a better mood and often a clearer state of mind.
A habit on the other hand is something repeated until it becomes an unconscious behavior. Many habits are good, yet some are downright stifling. Worn patterns can suck the life right out of us and leave us feeling dull and deadened. A clear sign that it’s time to change it up.
Disrupt your own thinking this week with a new experience. Your brain cells will love you for it!
Every stage of life has a pacifier in it. Something we nurse, or hold on to for comfort. At its best this calms our nerves and eases our mind. At its worse it keeps us stuck in a stage of life that we are destined to outgrow.
The tipping point is when the behavior, person, thought-process or career position begins to bring us more discomfort than joy. Our frustrations can then lead to anger, anxiety, depression or illness. When that happens, it’s time to let go of what once comforted us and push through to an expanded, more evolved level of being in the world. Disruptive as it may be, we are granted on the other side of the change with a greater version of ourselves and a deeper capacity to serve others.
Spring is here! Chickens are pecking out their shells. Are you being asked to do the same?
The words “I disagree with you,” are a great way to pick a fight. It’s basically a statement that voids the other person’s opinion and can leave the receiver feeling a little defensive– if not downright angry. When the declarative is spoken most people will either shut down and not share their point-of-view, or engage in a power struggle to win the battle. What we lose in the process is respectful dialogue that encourages innovation, collaboration and problem solving via shared information.
A simple replacement phrase can make all the difference. “I see your point of view. I just see it differently.” We don’t have to agree with somebody to understand their conclusion or respect their right to share an opinion. We can listen, follow their logic, and then share what information we have and the judgements we have made as a result of it.
Rephrasing a defensive sentence can open us up to new possibilities. Try it out this week and see where the high road leads.
You know what they say about a point-of-view. Everybody has one. It’s easy to blurt out a fleeting thought, or a not-so-fleeting bias with little consideration for how it might land on our listener. Even with good intentions a strong point-of-view can turn off co-workers, family and friends if we have not taken the steps to gain influence.
Before the words irrevocably leave your lips consider asking questions to better understand the subject matter. Suspend your judgment long enough to see the issue in a greater context. Then be willing to stay open in a discussion and flexible to change your point-of-view if new information arises that destroys the logic of your premise.
Lastly, before sharing your thoughts you might want to hold the words an extra second while you depersonalize the subject matter. “I think we need more information on what’s causing the delays.” Is better than blurting out, “You are a complete A-hole for not making your deadlines again.” The latter might feel good in the moment but the aftertaste is rarely worth the purge.