Recently, I was excited to share ideas about a new project with a friend of mine, who also happens to be a colleague. I was feeling fabulous about the potential of this project and impatient to share thoughts and ideas. In retrospect, I might have been more sensitive to his mood, based upon the lackluster texts from earlier in the day, which were out of character. Nonetheless, I charged ahead with my blundering enthusiasm and called him. He got his funk all over my fabulous and I left the call feeling deflated. Sound familiar?
As I reflected on this, I realized this scene plays out for all of us again and again. We have close relationships with friends and family, which set up certain expectations about what our interactions will be, and when they don’t measure up, we can feel deflated, disappointed, blah.
All of us have moments where we just are not fully ourselves. We get a flat tire, someone we love leaves, something chaotic is happening on our team at work, and we are caught up in a state of confusion or frustration. Eventually, we sort it out, and like sugar either melting or falling to the bottom of a glass of tea, there is clarity again.
“What is happening on the surface of the water is rarely what we see when we dive beneath the surface.”
These are the roots of a lot of misunderstandings at home and at work. We react, based on our expectation, they react based on their frustration and shields go up, harsh words are exchanged—or at least harsh thoughts are exchanged—which can damage the relationship.
What if, instead, we hold steady in our minds the deeper truth of who that person is—their true essence. And what if we honor their process and give them space to sort out whatever is happening to create the cloudiness in their thinking?
The Deeper Truth about my colleague is that he is usually one of my best advocates and expands my ideas, shares my enthusiasm. He is a gracious and loving soul, dedicated to helping others live better lives. The moment I let go of my expectation that he be excited about my project, and saw what was really up for him, the energy on the call shifted, for me. He was still smack in the midst of a funk. It was a good lesson for me to be sensitive to what’s happening for those around me and feel into the timing of a conversation.
I so appreciate having a life partner who sees my Deeper Truth even when I have forgotten it. When I am hungry, tired, or frustrated with technology, I can be a real pill—we all can. The longevity of our marriage is due in large part to his being able to see past the little clouds of confusion that sometimes swirl around me to the best of who I am. I do the same for him. What a blessing it would be to learn this as a skill in team dynamics, where we held steady to the Deeper Truth of who each of us is. I commit to doing more of that.
Teri Johnson is the founding partner of Personal Best Partners, LLC and faculty coach and mentor for People Acuity. To learn more about how we help leaders and teams be more innovative and operate more interdependently, visit our website at www.personalbestpartners.com
To learn more about online resources for your team, visit www.peopleacuity.com
To find a qualified coach near you reach out to me or visit www.soar.com