If you’ll humor me, take out a pen and piece of paper and write the word “Attitude”. Now, write the word “Attitude” with your other hand.
What was the difference? Unless you are ambidextrous, it was probably more difficult and awkward with your non-dominant hand. It probably took longer, and it most likely did not look as neat. We are not used to writing with the other hand, and it requires change.
Change. It is often awkward, messy, difficult and uncomfortable. It is also very, very hard. Behavior changes one of three ways: Rarely, slowly or never.
Think of the last major attitude or behavior shift you’ve made. It most likely took a great deal of effort, getting out of your comfort zone and learning new habits. If you haven’t had an attitude or behavior shift lately, now might be a good time to start.
So if it is so incredibly difficult to change our own behavior, why on earth do we think we can change the behavior of others? The truth is, if there is an attitude or behavior you want to change in others, you must start by changing the way YOU think and behave. This is a tough one. Most people ask, “Why do I have to be the one to change? They’re the ones with the problem!”
It goes back to the central question we all have to ask ourselves on a daily basis. The answer to this question, in large part, will determine the success of our job, relationships and the amount of stress we feel. It is the question central to determining the true goal of any interaction, relationship, project or situation. So what’s the magical question?
“Is my goal to be right or get it right?”
Now as someone who teaches this concept, you would think I have it down right? Wrong! While I love my son’s school, they made a choice I didn’t agree with, and I spent quite a bit of time talking with the principal last week. I was sure I was right. I was convinced that she was making a poor decision. How couldn’t she see it?
The truth is, I lost sight of the goal, and instead of really trying to communicate in a way that she would be receptive, I was trying to be right. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who was right, and whether or not I ended up getting the result I wanted still is not as important as the goal. The more important, bigger goal is to have a positive relationship with this person for the next several years while my son attends her school.
Make no mistake about it. Change is hard. Even those who know how to do this don’t always do it well. The next time you are frustrated with someone, and you wish they would act or be different, stop and determine what you might be able to change about your approach or mindset that could make the difference. When you catch yourself wondering why you’re the one who has to change, remember the goal….GET IT RIGHT.
It reminds me of the Charlie Brown carton where Lucy said, “I would like to change the world!” Charlie Brown asked, “Where would you start?” Lucy replied, “I would start with you!”