Previous blog, we talked about how to better understand what others are actually conveying to your through both their words and actions. Today, we will actually “walk the talk”. These are some examples — based on yesterday’s goal, on how to actually accomplish those concepts.
Please let me know if they are helpful to you.
Putting this into practice:
So – how can I put this into practice? How can I give people the benefit of the doubt but on my own terms and in a way that makes me feel good?
Example 1: Family or Friend is constantly borrowing money.
Teach them to fish. By this I mean assist them to become independent. If they are having trouble with their budget, recommend a financial advisor, a life coach, or someone that can assist them with their financial plans. Brainstorm with them on how to find a job (or a better job). Send them 2nd job leads. Offer to assist with a garage sale of their unused items. Mentor them with any training they need to achieve a higher paying job. There are many ways to assist them to independently acquire the money that they desire. These may not be the things they are asking you for, so there is a very good chance that they may not show any appreciation for this level of assistance. But if they are ready to be independent, they will appreciate your thoughtfulness and take you upon your offer. If they are not ready to stand on their own, they will bother someone else for a hand-out. Either way, you have given them the benefit of the doubt, and on your own terms.
Example 2: Family or Friend is constantly late and often makes you late.
Detach your schedule from theirs. Take separate cars. Take you own movie ticket. Start the meeting or program at the predefined time. Set it up such that you can accomplish your goals independent of his/her schedule. If they arrive in time to share the event with you, you are delighted. If they arrive late or miss it entirely, you are still enjoying the event. Either way, you have given them the benefit of the doubt, and on your own terms.
Example 3: Family or Friend often doesn’t even show up.
Agree to meet them, but don’t go out of your way to meet with them. Select meeting places in which you are already planning to be or have a purpose at. Then announce that you will already be at this location and will leave at a certain time. If they arrive in time, you will really enjoy seeing and playing with them. If he/she doesn’t turn up by that time, just move onto your next task. Also select places such that if the person does not show, you will still have a great time and will not resent the no-show. Either way, you have given them the benefit of the doubt, and on your own terms.
Example 4: Family or Friend often agrees to a certain plan of action and then doesn’t do it (or does something entirely different)
This is difficult. It depends how “important” the task, plan, or outstanding goal is. Getting it in writing is often a good idea; although having it in writing doesn’t seem to encourage or inspire certain people to follow-through. If their execution or part of the plan is really important to you, back away. Find the right person to partner with. This person may be a nice but is not a good match for this particular project.
If their role in the goal isn’t of particular consequence to you (you don’t care whether his/her piece gets done), then use the plan to accomplish what you want to accomplish and move on. Don’t worry about their piece of the project. You might enjoy their companionship along your journey and they might provide some good accountability partnership for your inspired action and piece of the plan. You can still appreciate their humor, perspective, and easy going attitude while you accomplish your part. But just acknowledge (and be at ease) with the possibility that they won’t do their end of the project. Either way, you have given them the benefit of the doubt, and on your own terms.
Example 5: Family or Friend is often out of integrity so it’s “tit for tat”.
It’s very tempting to treat people the way they treat us. If someone is normally late, then I will just arrive late and compromise my integrity. If someone agrees to do something and then does something totally different and even the opposite of what we agreed – then I can do the same to him/her and compromise my integrity. It’s extremely tempting to treat people like they treat us. And when we first encounter something we don’t’ like, it’s natural to immediately react and respond in like. But those knee-jerk reactions (and we all have them) doesn’t benefit us in the long run. Independent of what anyone else does, we still want to be true to our word. We still take our word seriously.
One recommendation is to try to take a step back. This is difficult to do, especially when you are in the midst of the “happening”. So – maybe disengage from the situation for awhile to allow the time and space to think this through.
Once away from the situation, take everyone else out of the picture. Decide – independent of how they are acting and regardless of what is happening right now – how do I really want to lead in this situation. What is my inner guidance telling me about this? Is there another way to look at this situation and come up with a different perspective – one that gives them the benefit of the doubt and on my terms? Maybe there’s a different perspective that will lead me to a higher ground or higher level solution.
It may take me awhile, but when I do the above, I finally realize that this incident it not really important enough to truly affect who I am and where I am headed. Who I want to be and act is larger than this one incident. Once again – it may take me awhile to get to this place, but that’s okay as well. It’s a natural progression. I’m a work in progress. And I know I can get to this realization much faster with practice.
Example 6: They are in the wrong. They need to compensate me or at least apologize to me.
This is a lesson I also need to continually remind myself. In fact, I just did this recently and it is the catalyst for this article.
I know that when I feel mistreated, I get off track and spend energy trying to get “them” to understand the inconvenience “they” have put me through. Eventually I realize that they may have inconvenienced me at that moment. Although they may have slowed my progress or lessened my happiness at that moment, that moment is actually in the past. And the only person that is slowing my progress and resisting my happiness “now” is me. I’m continually bringing the moment into the present by focusing my attention and energy on it.
Depending upon the particular incident, it may take me awhile to release the incident and realize that in the big picture of things, my prosperity and happiness isn’t gated or controlled by this one event. Once again, it may take me awhile, but I know I can get to this point faster with practice.
At the start of this journey we focused on “what other people are saying or doing” – but we actually ended up with “what we are saying or doing”. We all have inner knowledge and guidance. Like static on a phone line, sometimes we get distracted from that guidance by all the noise and actions coming from others. Taking a quite step back allows us to get back to what really matters to us. Taking everyone else out of the picture helps focus us on who we really want to be, do or have.
In the end, it always comes back to us. We have the power to decide and design who we really want to be.