The Illusion of Knowing People

The trick is

Getting still enough to see past the tower 

Of our own shadow

Into theirs

To slow down enough to take a walk

Into their secrecy

Leaving ours

To walk barefoot on their path of fallen leaves

Pushing aside the undergrowth

And the tentacles of our own briars

That choke their young

Untended foliage starving for daylight

A good Friday Question:

How long has it been since we simply admired those who grow beside us…without bringing our pruning shears?


Was Goldilocks a Complainer?

I never thought about what a diva Goldilocks was until my friend Rachel (who is difficult to please) mentioned that her husband called her “Goldilocks.”

After listening to Rachel talk about the temperature of her tea (for what seemed like forever), I said, “I guess it’s okay to be particular, as long as you don’t bore the rest of us by blabbering about it.”

I hope she is still my friend.

But, the whole episode got me thinking about how many of us tend to bore others by talking about random things we don’t like, or want more or less of, or can’t handle, or wish were different.

Image result for picky people meme

Anyway, if I am discontent about something, I think I’ll consider if it really matters to anyone else before I blab about it.

Image result for goldilocks and being particular

Storing Up the Wrong Facts

Mediating an angry relationship between clients, it became obvious that each had been building a case against the other for quite some time.

See if you recognize the pattern:

  1. You hurt my feelings.

  2. I didn’t talk it out with you.

  3. I decided you were cruel.

  4. Everything you did afterward proved it.

Sorting through the bitterness on both sides, I found the list of wrongs committed were miniscule and inconclusive compared to the resulting indictments and dysfunction.  (Unfortunately, that is often the way we humans role; pronouncing guilt without the trial.)

If I want to be better than that, and avoid mounds of pain, I must:

  1. Question my assumptions...because what I think I know may not be so.

  2. Remember that it is impossible for me to truly know another’s motives or feelings.

  3. Give the benefit of the doubt.

“Learning” People

Discussing with a client his need to be completely present with people while they were talking, he said,

“I can fix this if I focus on people in the manner I focus on learning to play the guitar. Learning an instrument requires my full attention. I thought I already knew people.”

Image result for learning to play guitar quotes

Image result for knowing people quote

…just like learning an instrument.

“You’re right.” vs. “I know.”

I say, “I know” too often, especially when people give me advice.

I may “know,” yet the need to voice “I know” says volumes about what I don’t know about listening.

So, I will practice replacing “I know” with “You’re right.” or “Thank you.”

This is a small adjustment for a big change in my willingness to really hear what others are saying to me.

It also changes how I make others feel.

Encountering the wall of “I already know that.” or, cracking the shell of self-deception is not an easy job.

(inspired by July 2013 post)

How Do I Get a Beautiful Mind?

Most of us would probably love people to say this about us. But, how do we get that label?

Definitely not by trying to sound smart.

Definitely by not trying to be cool or look beautiful.

Recently, I had a meeting I wasn’t looking forward to. I felt like I didn’t have anything to offer this person and that we didn’t have much in common. In my preparation for the meeting, though, I dropped every assumption, plan, and expectation and just concentrated on being available; loving the person and the evening.

The time turned into a beautiful conversation and connection, and, that person, later, complimented my beautiful mind. What?

Must be that the “beautiful mind” person is just the one that sees and hears the other person as beautiful.

That’s much easier than trying to be beautiful.

How to Instantly Improve Communications

A disgruntled employee told me she could write a book about the dysfunctional communication in her company. After finally accepting some of the responsibility for the dysfunction, she is now sending me copies of praise emails she is sending and receiving from her team. The latest ended with this exclamation:

“…tears of joy! How can you not feel positive when you’re making other people feel good?! Thanks for having such a positive impact on my life – work and personal.”


There is only one big obstacle (ourselves)

Separating us from this joy (ourselves)

But, when scaled

Leaves us with more

Than we ever

Dared to dream

Image result for the power of thanks

Image result for the power of thanks

The fast train to better, sweeter, and richer communication…

No One Is Listening

No one is listening when we…

  • nag

  • preach

  • repeat ourselves

  • brag

  • make excuses

But, we keep doing it, with irrational hope, ignorance, or annoying arrogance.

Suggested alternatives (only if we want to be heard):

  • Ask more questions.
  • Mirror emotions.
  • Listen without interrupting.
  • Drop our agenda and just be present.

What’s the Payoff?

Why do we get so much enjoyment out of telling people how busy we are, how hard we work, how little sleep we got, how people disappointed us, or what went wrong at the restaurant or auto shop?

I understand the need to vent or get sympathy from others, yet this type of complaining often becomes our conversation MO.

Is it because we don’t have anything else to talk about?

Do we think this gives us some type of status in the brotherhood/sisterhood 0f whiners?

Is it because we think other people don’t have enough frustrations of their own?

Whatever the reason, complaining only adds more unrest, emptiness, and static to our already crowded lives.

When we decide to bring “music” instead of noise to the world, our conversations might sound more like this…

“I was thinking about you today and how glad I am that you are in my life.”
“Tell me the highlight of your day.”
“Have I told you lately how proud of you I am?”

Want a better payoff?

Why “I Understand” Is Not Enough

If we want someone to hear our side of the story, we can’t start with it. We must start with their side of the story, so they know we get it.

If someone communicates to me in this manner, I find no need to defend myself (because they are defending me) and I can listen to the other side of the story with ease.

For example, if someone felt as if we had disrespected them when, we feel they misunderstood us and were overreacting, the following would get us the best result…

  1. I understand that you felt disrespected.
  2. I never want you to feel disrespected.
  3. I am so sorry that you had to go through that experience.
  4. (Then (and only then), the other side of the story)

If, instead, we merely say, “I understand,” be prepared for the other person to roll their eyes.