“The great enemy of communication, we find, is the illusion of it. We have talked enough; but we have not listened.” – William H. Whyte
I could end this post there, these words reverberating with such clarity that it is worthy of both the beginning and the end. Fortunately, I hope for you and me being a purveyor of words, I wish to expound on it.
If I were to ask you who knows you best or who you always confide in, who would you name? Would it be your significant other? Perhaps your best friend or a parent? It could be a certain four-legged member of your family with the largest listening ears. I know my mutt has heard many of my own monologues. Whoever came to mind, I can say it is incorrect.
We confide the most in the one person who we’re stuck with. Ourselves. Mostly left unsaid, our self-talk can dictate our mood and confidence and repeated self-talk, over time, becomes not just inner ramblings but how we generally view ourselves. Said differently, what our self-worth is.
For what it’s worth, pun intended, we’re all indispensable. In the physical sense, you are made of matter and therefore you matter in the metaphorical sense. Being told you matter can give us a shot of confidence for a time but for the feeling to be perpetual, you need to wholly believe it so much that when you’re on the precipice of a downward spiral, you can pull yourself back with your own self-talk.
I’ve previously discussed the importance of keeping wants in parallel with needs. With a constant barrage of needs in our lives, it might be difficult to perceive how one could bring our wants up to par. Instead, what if we could reduce our needs? What if, to one thing today, you had said no?
What No is and What it Should be
Most of us shrink when reading that last sentence. We’ve been conformed to believe the word is negative, forbidden, and frowned upon. I want to change it to be empowering, taking back control, and committing to your well-being. When you tell someone no you’re prohibiting an action or call to action. Yet, when a request comes to us, despite our internal desires to say no we say yes. Later confiding to others that “This is dumb, I don’t have the time and I don’t want to do it.” What then, drives our almost immediate inclination to agree?
These posts are going to be quick reads aimed towards equipping all of us to own the upcoming week. Consider them a challenge. This blog and my daily mantra centers around “Showing Up” and the “We” in the site name is no coincidence. It is neither “I can” nor “You can” but WE Can Show Up as leaders, co-workers, spouses, friends, parents – together, with combined experiences and through emotional transparency. That said…
Show Up Sunday – Positive Intent
Assume positive intent. These three words can be an enormous mind shift. I alluded to this in a prior post about anger being such a powerful emotion without calling out specifically. In any situation, if you truly believe positive intent, it’s almost impossible to have negative thoughts. Beyond that, it gives opportunities to build deeper connections through trust. How’d you feel if you were on the receiving end of this after you’ve made a mistake?
“I know this looks bad but I know you didn’t mean it. I’d like to understand how you approached this and see where we differed.“
Assuming positive intent shifts us from blame to understanding.
How often can you assume positive intent this week?
My favorite character in Pixar’s movie UP is Anger. I envy his tenacity. If you’ve never seen it, each character in the movie is the embodiment of some basic emotion inside Riley, a small girl’s mind, that controls her reactions: Joy, Anger, Fear, and Sadness. While each character wholeheartedly lives up to their name, Anger is the only one that displays his emotion in varying degrees. Fear is in a constant and exhaustive state of worse-case scenario and Sadness delivers every line with more gloom than Eeyore losing his tail. Anger though, moves from grumpy to a literal explosive display of unrivaled rage. Watching Anger’s head bursts into flames makes for Pixar magic but we too can erupt in some drastic ways.