WordFood - how we feed or starve our realtionships

- Julia Hubbel

Julia’s ability to get this group of type-A executives to engage in true networking was incredible. She is truly skilled at motivating the group to engage and interact with each other, and her openness and honesty really come through.

— Shelley Stewart, Jr.,
Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence and Chief Procurement Officer, Tyco

June 29, 2012

The Words We Feed Ourselves About Others

Have you ever talked yourself into a state of anger about someone else? Have you ever gotten a piece of information about someone, and based on that information, gotten very angry, although you may not have the whole picture? Sometimes we find out later we’re justified, and sometimes we’re wrong. Either way, we can expend a lot of energy being mad, and talking to others about this person, taking sides spewing our frustration. It can be costly if we don’t rein this in early on, and think about the consequences to ourselves and others.

This week I was on the phone with a client who is putting in a lot of hard work on a significant project at her company and being asked to do yeoman’s work with limited senior level assistance. More importantly, everyone pressures her to succeed, she is aware that all eyes are on this company wide project, and she has absolutely no funding to help her achieve her goals.

On the phone with one of her primary sponsors, she reported that this person told her on one hand that there was no money available but in the next breath that they were off to an international conference. She was furious- how could this so called supporter find the funds to head off overseas but not find funding for what was supposed to be such an important project?

It was tempting to take this personally. But the truth is that no one knows – we never know- what is going in on in another person’s mind, their life, their circumstances. This may be a once in a lifetime opportunity. This may be something this person has worked to achieve all their life. What she is seeing is a tiny bit of information and it’s being processed as it affects her project, and of course she’s going to take it personally. But there may be so many more facts affecting this situation. Were she to hear them, she might fully support the decision.

The choices are simple. She can be angry, resentful and frustrated at what she sees as the facts. Or she can take a larger view and realize that she isn’t aware of all the information, and to not let this sweep her away in anger. To not feed the fires of resentment, to not feed ourselves toxic WordFood about another person takes courage, especially when we think we’re right. What takes real courage is to hold the situation in question, and accept that we just don’t know. Because in truth, we don’t.

So perhaps this person goes to the conference and comes back with ideas for funding. Perhaps they come back energized and enthusiastic and full of renewed support for the big project and my client ends up with a real advocate. These are real possibilities.

My mother used to tease me about “jumping to conclusions.” Our emotions are quick to respond especially if something affects us personally. What makes us stronger, better, bigger people is the ability to recognize that we don’t know all there is to know in a situation, and never about what it is going on inside another person. Before we feed ourselves toxic WordFood about someone else, it serves to hold things in check, see what we can learn, and let things evolve. We may be surprised at what we find.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress