It’s funny how we can remember the intricate details of lessons learned years ago, yet we can’t remember where we put the car keys last night.
It was in the early 80’s and I was sitting on the opposite side of my boss’s desk. I was getting chewed-out for over-passionately expressing an opinion in a meeting. While I don’t remember exactly what it was about, I do recall asking, “What do you do to express your opinions?” “I only have opinions about things that really matter to me,” she answered.
That day I got two lessons in one chew-out session. Not bad odds. These were some of the most valuable lessons in my life.
Lesson One – You don’t need to have an opinion about everything.
Lesson Two – There are acceptable and unacceptable ways to express opinions.
Quite honestly, the harshness of the conversation shut me down for a while. That turned out to be a good thing. It bought me the time and space I needed to reflect on how other people perceived me.
It gave me time to practice listening without forming an opinion. I stopped offering opinions unless I was asked. When I did speak up I chose my words carefully. I neutralized the intensity of the emotion behind my words. I talked less and listened more. I learned to ask more questions and give fewer instructions.
Over time, I realized that changing my habits was changing my life. When I realized I could stop being the judge and jury for the world, it was like I’d stepped out of a pressure cooker. I was happier, quicker to laugh, and my relationships with others began to blossom.
Because I was more open-minded I learned more from others. I discovered lots of options to solving problems and I made better decisions.
Eventually, people started turning to me as a trusted advisor.
I don’t typically write about myself here, because this blog is not about me, it’s about helping you remove roadblocks to success.
Perhaps you can relate to this story. Or perhaps you’ll share it with another person that will. If so, I’ve made a difference, and that’s what really matters.