Friday September 6, 2013
Years ago I saw Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of the Christ." It clearly was a vivid leadership experience – certainly for me – and thus very challenging to describe. I’ve spoken with several of my Denver executive coaching clients on what can be learned from the experience that can contribute to our success. Fascinating!
If you haven't seen it, one note of caution you may have already heard is … this is definitely not the "sanitized crucifixion of Christ" we're all used to. The violence is real and unrelenting so if you are squeamish, don't rent the DVD and certainly don't casually allow children to view it.
One interim conclusion for me then and now: mankind is capable of inflicting truly horrible pain on others ... then and now. We saw it 2000 years ago in Judea; in the horrors of the Nazi death camps; and the killing fields of Cambodia and Somalia.
Even less comfortable to confront is the less violent and still very real pain we inflict or tolerate in our friendships, families, organizations and communities. I can suggest some simple steps we can take to treat each other and ourselves better and thus create better relationships.
Relationship is a big topic so I'm choosing to focus on just a few simple ideas that have some leverage – that when practiced, the personal and professional benefits can be extraordinary.
Let's begin with my personal and deeply held belief that everything we want to do or be in life gets done through communication which takes place in a context of
relationships. Therefore developing mastery in understanding, creating, building and maintaining long term, bonded, effective relationships is a vital life skill. It’s also a reliable predictor of personal and professional success and satisfaction.
One approach to being more effective in all our relationships with others is to use A.R.C. – the acronym that guides much of my work with people and organizations.
Grow in Awareness
Let's define this as simply an enhanced state of noticing what's really happening for and with the other people in your life. I've learned from "noticing experts" Cathy Walker and Dianna Lynn that just beginning to pay more attention brings breakthroughs in learning and subsequent positive behavioral change.
My oft told story is that when I first attended the Mind Dynamics seminar (I later became President of the company), I was expressing my critical skills in ways that were driving the important people in my life away from me or at least causing them to withdraw the support I desperately needed.
The two years following that seminar were amazing. I began to notice the impact my criticism had on the people I loved and the many colleagues I counted on for producing results in my company. Following the seminar philosophy, I worked to avoid self-judgment, then notice and work to slightly reduce critical communications.
The results from that simple exercise – practiced as often as I noticed it – were profound. My relationships improved and my business tripled in revenue in one year.
What's the habit you have which tends to generate relationship problems for you? Begin to notice and then act on that awareness by...
Taking Personal Responsibility
This is not about blame, shame, guilt or regret. This is simply choosing to own the reality that only you are the source of your relationship quality and only you can alter that experience.
One good practice in regard to all your relationships is to just stop using the outer-directed word "you" whether to others or in conversation with yourself. Pay attention only to the contribution you are or are not making to the relationship and the resulting positive learning will bring you satisfaction you might never have imagined possible.
The simple formula here is that there is no such thing as an effective 50/50 relationship. 50/50 breeds dependence and resentment. Both parties must commit to expressing a 100/100 % commitment ... and your personal responsibility is to model that 100% commitment first, to be the example.
It seems to be that great relationships are vivid, not bland. They have some "juice" in them and even include the participants taking some risks, being more personally revealing and both speaking and listening intentionally.
I'm a bit of a political and current events "junkie" and what I notice about that arena is communication often based in personal attacks and hidden agendas instead of powerfully and directly sharing competing points of view. You don't need me to tell you how ineffective that is – or to tell you how ineffective you are when you practice similar patterns or gossip or share information that is a bit less than fully honest. Authentic and direct communication with positive intent is like making a deposit to the "Relationship Bank." It will be there, earning interest, when you need to make a withdrawal, when the situation calls for some trust
Extraordinary Wisdom Quotes
"You will derive your supreme satisfaction not from your ability to amass things or to achieve superficial power but from your ability to identify yourselves with others and to share fully in their needs and hopes."
"We talk about the quality of product and service. What about the quality of our relationships and the quality of our communications and the quality of our promises to each other?"
Max de Pree
"We human beings are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others' actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others' activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others."
His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama
Extraordinary Living Action Steps
1. Wake up to the current reality of your relationships --with your Self, your friends, family, colleagues and community. What's working? What's not working? What's next? Get aware!
2. Take personal responsibility for creating the kind of nourishing, powerful, effective relationships you want.
3. Begin to communicate openly, honestly, fully ... Realize that every communication takes you either closer or further away from the relationships that could change your experience of life and work ... for the better.
Wishing you an Extraordinary Life and Extraordinary Organizations,