Assumption: An act of inferring or explaining what is obscure.
A few years ago, a close colleague and I were working on a presentation for a major international client. We had carefully planned the agenda, who would do what, and the date for the presentation was only a few weeks away. As she was the client lead, I sent her the draft of my work and expected to hear back from her quickly but heard nothing. Thinking she hadn’t received the email I sent it again with a friendly reminder, but days later, still no response. My reaction was, “What the hell’s going on here? Why doesn’t she answer? This can only mean she doesn’t like what I did and is probably redoing all my work!”
Friday morning, after steaming about her lack of communication I called her cell, got her voice mail, and left a message for her to call me back as soon as possible. No call, no email, again nothing!
Now, majorly PO’ed, I called her once more and this time she picked up. The negative energy I’d built up lashed out at her about everything I assumed — then stopped, took a breath, and waited for her response. Here’s what she said, “Mark, I completely trust everything you do. There’s never a question if it’s going to be great. We’ve worked together long enough that I don’t have to check what you do, I always know what you offer will be exactly what the client needs.”
A few moments of silence passed as I pondered what a jerk I was, how needy I was, and thought to myself, “Where does this lack of self-confidence come from?”
Also, what I didn’t know is that this colleague had been going through personal matters for months and that she had been dealing with hurdles to surmount in addition to creating her own work for the client.
The opinion I created about this event was a fictious tale based on an unconscious reaction to what I thought was true but was based only on one point of view — my own. That conjured-up story didn’t allow for other possibilities and as the story built, my version of it added fuel to the fire.
What’s the lesson here? Stop interpretating, stop judging and start being more curious. Viktor E. Frankl said it like this:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Once we become aware of how we internalize what’s going on around us, we can then ask ourselves, “What’s another way to look at that?” “What might be the complete opposite point of view of how I’m interpreting the situation?”
Why is this important? Because the negative energy we build up in ourselves causes stress, lack of confidence, and stops our progress. How might you benefit by replacing judgement with curiosity?
In the experience above, if I had been more curious, took positive action to find out what was really going on, the self-manufactured negative energy I’d built up wouldn’t have even begun. When we replace judgement with curiosity, we can create conscious choices that free us from the false stress we often impose on ourselves.
Try it, you’ll like it. It begins with awareness and then exercising our strength of choice. That’s where our true power resides.
Next – Challenging Assumptions – It never worked before, and it won’t work this time.
Mark is the Management Consultant Director at Talent Plus where he aligns The Science of Potentiality ® to each client’s unique needs and support their growth. He brings potential to life through the practical application of our science and enables employees to prosper and organizations to succeed.
“There is nothing more satisfying than witnessing the exponential growth of an employee when they discover and express their talent.”
Talents: Ego Drive, Focus, Individualized Approach, Persuasion, Relationship