What’s More Important?

Posted by on Feb 15, 2013 in Blog, Coaching, Relationships | 0 comments

Whenever I teach persuasion in workshops, I often ask participants, “Do people do things because YOU want them to?”  

 Ha. Anybody who has kids knows the answer to that.

 So, what do you do? Each person has his or her own opinions and will make his or her own choices. You can’t issue commands. “Make it so!”

 Don’t we wish?

 And don’t we try?

 No, people have to want things for themselves.  I’ve been dealing with a family situation lately that brings all this to mind.  Someone I’m very close to has been making choices I don’t agree with and other people are affected by those choices.  I’m sure you’ve been there.

 From my perspective, this person is wrong.  Period.  No shades of gray.

 Now, what do you think that kind of attitude does to the relationship?

 We’ve been entrenched in our positions … entrenched … like the soldiers in World War One dug in along our respective battlelines.

 Now, how much good do you think can come from that arrangement?  Exactly none.

 Do something for me.  Put your hands together in a praying position and push one against the other in an isometric way.  Since the pressure is equal, there’s a whole lotta stress there, but nothing moves, nothing changes.

 People are like those hands.  In order to move forward, people have to stop pushing against and face in the same direction toward what’s possible and good.

 Play with this.  Notice what happens when you apply the same pressure with your hands, but turn them outward, palms toward the horizon.  They leap forward.  The gridlock is broken.  The relationship is unfrozen.

 The thawing begins by asking yourself what’s more important to you … the relationship or being right … and righteous … and stuck?

 If it’s the relationship, you have to behave differently in order for things to change.

 Here’s what I discovered as we’ve been working through this situation.  Every relationship has three parts … you, the other person, and the relationship itself.  If you ignore the third element, all you have is oppositional forces. 

 But if you hold the relationship sacred … if you elevate the importance of the relationship above the desire to exercise control … warmth returns.  Melting occurs.

 I’m committed to the relationship, so I stripped the judgment out.  I started really listening and acknowledging what I’d heard.  I couched my opinions with concern for how my words would “land” with the other person, choosing language that sought to preserve the relationship while allowing me to be authentic in presenting what I believe to be true.

 And you know what I’ve noticed?  A softness has developed between us.  I feel heard.  The other person feels heard and the relationship feels better than it has in a long time.

 I also realize that it’s important to hold a positive vision of who that person can be and where they can be in their life.

 Trying to control things and push for change didn’t work for me and it almost certainly won’t for you.  What worked for me was to pray about the situation and stay positive about the outcome, giving that positive vision my energy.  That immediately takes me to a better, lighter, more hopeful place … which is the only place to be if you want to see serious change occur.

 It’s truly the surest and maybe the only way to “make it so.”

 Warmest Regards,


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