Suslick Step's
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Losing with People: 3 Simple Ways

The three fastest way to turn someone into a difficult person is to judge the motives behind their words or actions, judge how they spend money and judge how they are rearing their children.

Because I am riding a HUGE pink elephant, I cannot judge my own motives. When I find myself judging others’ motives, I turn family, friends and cashiers into difficult people.

Have you found yourself dealing with a difficult person?  Did you find out in the middle of the conversation, at the end or at a later date the reason that they were difficult was because you failed to read what their intent was?

How can you find out someone’s motive?  Listen.  Stay calm.  Then ask a question.

Do you have a goal to win a sale, connect in a relationship or receive a refund on a product.  Listen, stay calm then ask a question.

In the book Switch, the authors talk about riding an elephant.  Let me explain.  Emotions rule our behavior.  These emotions are an elephant.  NOT just any elephant.  A pink elephant.  This elephant is as large as a two-story five bedroom home on the end of a dead-end street in the nice part of town. You are the rider of this elephant.  Picture yourself on top of this HUGE pink elephant.  The rider is a small stick figure “you.”  The small stick figure you is the logic part of you.  The one who has the reasons for doing what you do.

I believe this elephant resides next to your bed in the morning in miniature.

The moment you roll out of bed you actually roll into your place on top of this pink elephant.  Something magical happens as you climb into your seat and grasp the reins.  The elephant grows into the size of that home you heard about.  Once the stick figure you is in place, the pink elephant begins the march through the day.  I can see this elephant marching along, maybe slow, maybe fast, sometimes in between.  Depends on how much coffee you drink.

You begin to make choices throughout your day.  Some are simple.  Your emotions know not to place your hand on top of the hot burner.  Did you actually use logic to make that choice?  Your partner comes out and has that look.  Did you use logic to decide that they must not love or respect you?

When I run into that cashier who doesn’t treat me right, was my offense at their behavior based on any form of rational thought.  Did I actually take the time to stay calm, listen and ask a question?  Or did my emotions tell me, “I have the right to better treatment!”

Because I know I ride an elephant.  A pink elephant.  And in my case it’s a HUGE pink elephant. I cannot even trust my own motives unless I listen.  Stay calm.  Then ask a question.

When I take the time to think about the pink elephant, I can reserve judgement on others until I listen.  Stay calm.  Then ask a question.

What color is your elephant?  Does the elephant you’re riding have an impact on your relationships, daily interactions and success?

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2 Responses to “Losing with People: 3 Simple Ways”

  1. Terrific post and great visual! I was at Barnes and Noble last night checking on an order I placed a month ago for Tristan. The manager was unusually defensive but I slowed down, stayed calm and asked a question. My “rights” were momentarily affected but everything was resolved peacefully within minutes. In personal relationships we must remember this even more so. I fell down on my face with a wrong assumption recently because I did not seek first to understand then to be understood. Your post today is a terrific reminder to think before we speak. Well done!


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