Your Narrative—In Business and Life
“Assumption the Mother of all Screw ups.”
– Line in the movie “Under Siege 2—Dark Territory”
Everyone has a narrative in their life. It’s how we explain life, people, business, relationships, and more. It’s the story we tell ourselves about others–their motivation and attitude–it’s our way of explaining how people, business, and life operate.
The problem with our negative narratives is that we’re often dead wrong in the way we perceive people, organizations, and circumstances. This could not be truer than in business and the marketplace. In business, it is imperative we be accurate in our assessment of reality.
Relate this to customers, stake holders, competition and the marketplace at large–with this wrong “reading” of we end up misjudging, miscalculating, and completely misunderstanding an entire situation– possibly even an entire relationship. The fundamental problem with our own “self-narration” is that it often leads to poor action, responses, and results. This can lead to loss, bankruptcy, broken relationships and companies—not to mention business competitiveness.
Negative business narration has two directions it can go.
Internal negative narrative—this type of negative business narrative tends toward our own self-justification and judgment of other’s internal drives. This is where we find it easy to presume we know the inner workings of other’s motivations, attitudes, and how they think. Here, we find it easy to vilify others and justify ourselves. This is a narrative in which we can never see ourselves as wrong. When we vilify others we excuse ourselves. The phrase that is used is “excuse and accuse”. When we excuse ourselves and accuse others, we have no grounds for personal responsibility. Poor decisions are made when our internal narration of others runs askew. We are on shaky ground when we presume to judge the motivation and intention of others.
External negative narrative is where we read just the external circumstances and draw our (often incorrect) conclusions. This is based on what we can perceive only externally. Here, mistakes in good judgment happen and the results are usually disastrous. We have poor information which leads to bad interpretation and then we make poor decisions. When we have bad data we make bad decisions leading to poor outcomes. Enough said: Garbage in=Garbage out.
Assumption is the fuel of the negative narrative paradigm. It is based primarily on guess work. We all know what assumption means! When we assume and presume that we know more about others and how their circumstances “seem”–we are on shaky ground.
This assumption and vilification based in narrative negativity will result often in a life cut off and sequestered from others. This bitter “Lone Ranger Mentality” rules the day in many leaders, cultures, and managers. This kind of leadership is, frankly, frightening. One thinks of Hitler and others in history and shudders at the thought of the negative narrative drawn out to its logical and frightening conclusion.
So, what are the solutions?
1. Have openness about life, people, and relationships –Know that we have little or no control over others. We have, at best, incomplete information about others and no real way to know it all. What we really need is a new narration–the ability to be open and not get into the temptation to tell a story about others when we really don’t know all the facts. How can we possibly know the whole story about someone or the situation or how they got “there”? Be all about getting good, solid facts first!
2. Be a Person of Possibility– this starts with believing the human condition can improve, learn and evolve. We can learn to grow and actualize and enlighten personally, spiritually, and mentally. This is not an easy task—but we actually can get better! We can learn, grow, and leverage our strengths and weaknesses! Give others the benefit of the doubt. Stop the temptation to be judge and jury—give others the benefit of the doubt. Trust some folks and their good intent. Take (wise) risks in believing in people. You’ll be surprised how trusting someone can really result in some positive outcome and benefits. People thrive in a culture and atmosphere of genuine trust. Trust me…!
3. Have Trusted Advisors—Stay close and value people in your life who are not afraid to push back when you begin negative narration. Have business friends who will challenge your dominant paradigm. Give them freedom to ask you hard questions and to question your judgment and ways of seeing things. This relationship takes time, trust, and relationship building.
4. Catch yourself. When you begin to mentally “go” negative—notice it and stop it. Get into the habit of stopping your own negativity and replace it with something more positive! Tell a new story or simply resist the tendency to tell any narrative at all. Be in the moment with people and be free to just experience them as they are. This truth can open the door to unknown and limitless possibility in life, business, and culture. Now go and re-tell your story today….
“80% of life is showing up.”
I was sitting with my friend at a recent networking meeting. As I was speaking to her, I realized how far she’s come in learning how to network, speak, and connect with people. She had developed her people skills and had really become rather professionally transformed. She had “bloomed” and come in to her own. She came from being a “wallflower” to become a gnarly networker–in a short period of time.
Let’s explore about how folks like you and I can become great networkers, speakers, marketers, and communicators. How do people go from good to great—often in short order? I have seen many people come into “bloom” and come to connect to their own experiences, gifts, and skills in their midlife. Many folks actually come into their “professional prime” rather late in midlife. Their talents were always there—just latent and waiting for the right conditions. It’s amazing to see others come into their own as they exercise their gifts, experiences, and talents to communicate freely with others. They basically find their “voice” and a new ability to joyfully participate in (professional and business) life. They bloom.
An example of this is my friend, referenced earlier, who was rather shy. Her background was not in business and she had very little business acumen. With application and time and work– she became a very proficient networker, speaker, and communicator. She had really “bloomed”. She applied herself and went out into the world and made herself learn to deal with, relate to, and even love people and become a proficient speaker, marketer, and “gnarly networker”. She is now rather fearless when it comes to groups, meetings, and even direct selling.
This “blooming” is much like akin to a flower; in their infancy they are small buds. Flowers, like folks, when they’re given their correct growing conditions, they bloom—often magnificently. When the rosebud is small and insignificant it has very little beauty and no scent. They’re actually thorny and not much fun to deal with. When it’s given the opportunity to develop, a rose in full bloom is the pinnacle of God’s creation. They’re lovely, smell great, and beautify any landscape or room. In like manner, when people encounter a midlife “bloom” –they often beautify the world with their gifts and “fragrance.” They may even smell and look better!
We actually have the ability to set the stage for our own professional and personal growth. We can set it up to bloom professionally and more brilliantly. With fertilization, light, correct nutrients and with the right location– a flower– or a person– can be magnificent in short order. Kind of like my friend–she put herself in a position to grow personally and saw the results rather quickly. In the same way, you and I can set the stage for growth. Know what you want. Show up. Be present. Help others. Serve. Be kind…
A lot of blooming is being exposed-being in the light. Being out there and exposed to the elements and to the nutrients needed to develop our “inner bloom.” We can actually grow quickly and more profoundly if we do it with intentionality. What is it take to be intentional? It takes a goal and focus and execution. It takes time management– it takes work and effort. Much of it is simply showing up and being relational. Zig Ziglar says it well—“You must circulate to percolate.”
Much of life is figuring out what it means to come into our own. How do you develop those in to your gifts and other skill sets that lie dormant in your life? Part of the answer lies in your DESIRE to grow and to expand and learn. Come out of your comfort zone. If you’re willing, then sometimes the execution of the necessary effort becomes rather easy. It’s often at that point that we can grow and come into our own and become of use to others.
This notion of being of use to others is the primary motivation. How can you and I be of use to our family, our community, and our world? The answer is coming to your own and finding the next level of “best”, going from good to great and then “blooming.” Be willing to pay the price and do what’s necessary and let nothing hold you back from becoming all you can be. Come into your own today. We have been waiting for you a long time. Be like that flower that comes out of the bud phase of their life into full fruition. This fruition gives life, color, smell, and sensory benefit all that experience it. Be that open flower today. Go out and set the stage then bloom in all your brilliance and glory!
|Dale Carnegie who wrote the book, “How to win friends and influence people” shared how he won a major sale by making himself memorable in a positive way. While sitting at dinner he started talking with a gentleman at his table. The man at his table spoke for four hours while only allowing Dale Carnegie the opportunity to speak for only about two minutes. After four hours the man stated to everyone, “Dale Carnegie is the best conversationalist I’ve ever met”. By being an active listener Dale Carnegie was not only portrayed as a great conversationalist, but the man instantly took a liking to Dale Carnegie. Since Dale was interested in him he was interested in Dale and later he provided Dale Carnegie with a great sales opportunity.By following the guidelines below, you’ll stand out in the crowd and make yourself more memorable to everyone you meet.
See Article link on “How to Avoid Connection Crushers”
“If you’re in business for just the money—you’re about half paid.”
R.L. Hammond (1921-2004)
My dad was an insurance agent in San Diego County in the 1970-80’s. He lived a life of serving others and his country in WWII. He taught and tutored me in much of what I know and do in business today.
The following practices/ideas of his are sure to ratchet up your business acumen:
- BE KIND TO EVERYONE—“It doesn’t cost anything to show kindness to others, Scott,” he would say. Be nice. Play nice. A smile and a small kindness go a long way.
- HAVE A FIRM HANDSHAKE/SHAKE HANDS AND GREET PEOPLE- People love to feel important (because they are!). An appropriate handshake and a greeting really affirm others and establishes rapport-quickly. Give the gift of appropriate touch.
- TELL GREAT STORIES—People live in stories…We all relate to a good tale and learn more from a compelling story than a lecture. Stories bring relevance to our topic and to our relationships.
- BE A GOOD LISTENER—This tells people you affirm them and value them. Empathy is a powerful relationship builder and establishes credibility, reliability, and shows you really care.
- BE AN ABOVE AVERAGE SPEAKER—Learn the art of public speaking. Good speakers know how and what to communicate and when. You can learn to speak well if you apply yourself to the disciplines and use the tools available to you. “Go to a Toastmaster Meeting”, he would tell me.
- HAVE AN AWESOME SENSE OF HUMOR—Laugh sometimes. Have fun with people and stop the somberness that permeates some business cultures. Be appropriately playful with people who like to play and laugh, and cultivate the ability to really laugh at life.
- DEVELOP LIFELONG RELATIONSHIPS—Be the person who reaches out and calls and takes the initiative in your relationships. Be that person who spends the time and effort to get to know and serve others. Givers really do gain!
- GIVE ENCOURAGEMENT…FREELY—Be that person who can freely affirm, encourage, and genuinely build others up in a truly authentic fashion. Heck—tell those you love how you feel.
- BE A GIVER—Share your life, world, resources, experiences, gifts, and time as freely as you feel able and willing. Be that person who “walks the talk” in your actions and your words. Give to others expecting nothing in return—you will be blessed.
- BE SPECTACULAR ON THE PHONE—Learn to use the phone like no one else. Make purposeful and powerful calls that build rapport and relationship. Learn to network using the phone to make great calls and reach out to those you hope to build alliances with. Know how to relate to people via the phone on a regular basis.
10.5. BE YOU—Just be yourself not a second rate version of someone else. Trust yourself, be yourself and others will resonate with the “authentic you”. There is only one of YOU—be the best you possible and you will succeed in life, business, and awesome relationships!
To know is to love…
As you learn more about who your children are and how they have been designed–how they are wired…
Let them know and discover more about yourself as well. Let them in on YOU.
Disclosure and being real and open as a parent is key to developing a healthy relationship with your kids–for a lifetime.
Can you keep it “real”?…or do you tend to put on a “parenting self”… as you deal with your kids.
My twenty-something kids call this being “Legit”.
Children can smell a fake a mile away—do the know you, like you, and trust you?
Only then you can have a great relationship!
Let patience, kindness, love and the willingness (courage) to trust and be trusted as you move forward as a family.
Authenticity is the key—can you be real and keep to the role of a great parent…Yup!
Eighty percent of success is showing up.
US movie actor, comedian, & director (1935 – )
People often ask:” How do you get involved and know so many people locally?”
Short answer: relationships via networking and involvement.
How do you and I make the time in a world in short supply of it?
Show up. Get involved. Be present.
You can make the time and make people your priority. It does not take gobs of time- Just a commitment to involvement in something and some people you believe in–something you know makes a difference.
Some key points to really consider:
- Consider as you look into community involvement: What is a fit both in time and mission?
- What does this association bring to you and the community?
- What do YOU bring to the group?
- Can you support the vision, mission, and the goals of the association you are considering?
- What is your motivation? Give or take or both? Business or just friendship or both?
I have some suggestions for your networking consideration here in Humboldt County. It usually costs nothing to visit and each association will likely be delighted to meet and get to know you. This list is just my take—not exhaustive by any means.
- Local Chamber of Commerce (Google your local Chamber)
You can choose from most local towns: Eureka, Arcata, Fortuna, or McKinleyville. Each would love to meet and network with you at their monthly mixers. Great opportunity—size matters here. Your local Chamber is a great place to start your “networking quest.”
- B.N.I.—Business Networking International (bni.com)
This is your great opportunity to specifically network with others in business for the express purpose of getting and giving business referrals. There are 3 local chapters and they are all very friendly to new and potential visitor/members.
- Service Clubs—Rotary, Kiwanis’s, Soroptimist, etc… (Google and you will find your choice)
Local service clubs are a terrific way to get linked in to the local culture and make a positive difference in the community. Each has its own flavor, culture, and mission to the community. Again, visit around to find the best match for you in terms of meeting time, general fit and culture.
- “Mastermind” Groups—several in the County (Google your search—it really works!)
These groups vary, but the common thread is always some focus on mutual encouragement and support in attainment of your personal and business goals. Each has its own focus and area of expertise and all differ in their culture and leadership. This is a great network to get personal attention and 1 to 1 help. These usually cost more than other networks and for good reason.
- Clubs, Associations, Lodges, etc…(Google is your friend—use it)
Locate and find the involvement via local clubs of your choice. Elks, Odd Fellows, Grangers, Moose Lodges, are just a few you can choose from. Humboldt County has a lot of these.
- Toastmasters—3 chapters locally (toastmasters.org)
There are many associations designed for self-help—few do it as well as Toastmasters. Although, not a networking venue, Toastmasters helps folks ramp up their business acumen and thereby their networking skills. This is a personal favorite. You actually do meet many fascinating people along the way!
Want to network and get your local relationships ramped up? Show up. Get involved. Be present.
There is no better way than to plug into an appropriate local group, association, or club of choice. You will find not only will you grow, but you will be a key in influencing others to personal development.
The key is when/where/ and how you will choose to be involved. If you delay, we will all be lesser for your absence. Take action today—get on Google and make some calls and show up—You’ll be glad you did…so will your communities!
Every family melts down–sometimes! When things aren’t going well what can you do as a leader-parent?
Here are a few tips and ideas you can employ TODAY to help you and the fam get through the “rough spots” we all encounter in family living:
- Call for EVERYONE to take a :60 second “time-out”—Stop and walk away, take some breaths, and remove yourself from a volatile situation first.
- Call for EVERYONE to “freeze” (remember freeze tag?)—Stop the action and words of everyone for a minute or so before resuming.
- Discuss the Scene (drama!)–Have everyone stop and consider their roles and how they might make some changes in tone, words,body language etc…
- Replay the Scene–Make it a better “scene”. Replay it as many times as necessary to make a more positive scene and consequently a better overall “Family Play”
- Have Fun–Dare to have some humor and laugh with (not at) each other. Crack an appropriate joke and lighten the mood when trending toward a family drama.
Create some special time with just you and your child.
Just that intentional 1 to 1 time can yield big relationship dividends.
Name 1 thing you can commit to and JUST DO IT!
Burn that bridge and get that date with your kid into your mental or actual day-timer today!
Set up a standing date AND also be spontaneous.
Both in concert will benefit your relationship for years to come.
Remember this: Quality Time comes from Quantity Time—-You must invest your precious time.
Name the activity then—movies, outings, sports, trips, food, chores, projects and so much more…….
You don’t HAVE to do this—You GET to…
It is not because she has earned this time, but because she needs this time with dad.
Show appropriate physical affection. Do this parent to parent and parent to child as well.
I am reminded if I refuse to hug my teen girls, there are PLENTY of young men ready to fulfill my duty…
Our kids need regular, appropriate physical touch—so does our spouse. So do I!
The kids need to see in each parent nurturing, gentle love and , when needed, the firm-yet-respectful love.
This “tough love” can manifest in a “courageous conversation” (not lecture dad!) or in simply doing and saying the right thing–always in a spirit of love.
Show your love today—Be a “hugger”—Surprise them by being that person who is warm, loving, and not afraid to show it.
BTW: say “I love you”—regularly, and mean it.
As parents, we need to support each other’s decisions as we train our kids and raise them into adulthood.
If you are not willing to support each other’s parenting decisions morally or philosophically, do not implement the parent action until you can.
This will likely require meetings between mom and dad to make proposals, listen, adjust, refine, compromise, and convince.
Change will be the outcome—change in approach, attitude, and perhaps outcome in the way you parent.
The key here is this: Are you willing to lay aside SOME of your past parenting paradigms–you know the stuff your parents did.
be committed to arriving at a place you both can accept and support as a team. otherwise , you’ll be divide and such division will be sensed by the kids.
It is in their and your interest to reach agreement and become unified as you parent together for a lifetime those you love and are in a parenting role with.
Hot Tip: Hold hands next time you have a “courageous conversation” with your child. First off–it will blow their mind.
Then, they will see you are in unity and may even listen attentively as you both speak from the strength of your new found unity.