- On August 2, 2018
I am getting ready to plunk down a significant amount of money for a major purchase. I need to feel confident this is a good fit for me.
Distractingly, the sales person I am working with spent more time spinning their own tale about the purchase than with how well the purchase fit me.
This is not helping me at all.
Telling me what I should do or feel, or what you would do or feel, does little towards helping me sort through my thought process. You are relating from your perspective, not from mine.
During this major decision processing, I feel my mind go dead. I know why.
First, our brains can only process one thing at a time.
Contrary to popular belief, we do not multi-task. Instead our brain moves back and forth between tasks, losing efficiency and effectiveness each time. While the sales person prattles on, I am unable to direct my attention to make sense of my own swirling thoughts and feelings. My anxiety ratchets up.
Second, even if we are born in the same place, grow up the same, and have many of the same experiences, how we interpret the world will be different. What works to trigger excitement or quell fear for you is most likely not the same for me.
The key to get me to act? Put your own thinking aside and help me “improve the quality of my thinking” (as David Rock says in his book, Quiet Leadership).
How? Listening. Observing. Asking.
What is going through your mind?
How do you feel about this?
What is your gut telling you?
You seem hesitant, what’s going on?
What do you need to help you decide about this?
It’s not that I’m not interested in you and your stories…however, right now, I need your interest in what I’m going through. I need a sounding board, a devil’s advocate, or an ally to help me process my thoughts and feelings.
Right now, I need it to be about ME.
This mentally exhausting experience gave me the proverbial ‘slap upside the head’ to look at the quality of my own listening.
How often do I redirect to a story from my own experience…When that is not what they really need?
Sometimes it’s about Me…and sometimes it’s about You.
If we want better relationships—and better decisions–know how to tell the difference.
Photo credit: JMaliszewski, 2017. Looking up the circular steps in the Arc de Triomphe, Paris.