Leadership + Influence

Ask For The Story

In my personal life I do quite a bit of work with kids. More often than not, when I ask a child a question and they begin to answer, a well-intentioned adult will interrupt and give a succinct explanation, ending the conversation.

The adult's behavior is easy to understand: the child's answers are often long-winded, hopping from point to point, never really touching on what I initially asked — at least not at first.

I often have to tell the adult, "I was asking because I am interested in the story, not the answer."

When you ask a child a question and then give them space to talk, you'll learn much more. More importantly, it shows them that their opinions and perspectives are valued and that they have a right to voice them.

The same thing applies to conversations with adults.

In our impatience to tick a box on a checklist, in our desire to have everything nicely tied up in a bow, in our drive to find the most efficient solutions and increase our productivity, we settle for surface conversations and miss out on the joys and benefits deep listening brings.

There's a quote I love because it proves true over and over: "A good listener helps us overhear ourselves."

Ask people questions and then give them space to talk.

 


Originally pubilshed January 2015

When Others Dismiss You

Some people will be threatened by your ambition.

Some people will be threatened by your work ethic.

Some people will be threatened by your talent.

Some people will be threatened by your personality.

Some people will be threatened by your intelligence. 

Some people will gossip to anyone who will listen that you’re irrelevant as a way to protect themselves from being seen as irrelevant. 

Some people will try to define you by work you did ten years ago as a way to dismiss your creative growth. 

And, in the short term, their tactics may work. People may listen to and believe them. In the long term though, their actions to dismiss you will backfire. People will see your work speak for itself. 

Keep pursuing your goals.
Keep showing up.
Keep innovating.
Keep developing your creative muscle. 

If the work you do makes life more enjoyable or easier to navigate, then the work you do makes the world a better place. 

Ignore the noise. We need you.
 


Originally published March 2016

Assuming the Worst

One of the biggest mistakes people make in business is writing someone off because of one aspect about that person that they may not like. This often leads to soured relationships and underestimating the competition.

We're all human and we're all flawed in one way or another. You don't have to agree with someone 100% of the time, but disagreeing with them doesn't automatically make them a bad person or a terrible company.

Be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Assuming that one flaw or difference in opinion defines the whole is a dangerous practice in both business and life.
 


Originally published May 2010