I think I know many things. We all do, to some extent, or it would be very hard to get up in the morning and move forward, considering the overwhelm of the day ahead. I wish I could always keep the student mind, believing I know nothing. But, alas, human I am.
Therefore, I expect you, too, know many things. With this in mind, how do you or have you learned your many things?
Learning comes through conscious action: consciously reading, consciously attending school, consciously living life, consciously observing others (role models), consciously observing the outcomes of our actions to modify them to make ourselves better. The latter is the most important to find our own groove in life, this is where we become ourselves. This makes us excel at our unique humanness, our unique experience in life with our conscious actions we take to lead ourselves towards the excellence we strive for.
However, consciously attending our daily activities and following our paths isn’t necessarily going to lead us all in the same directions. In fact, it most likely won’t. It can lead us towards similar pathways that might align for brief moments in time. If consciously chosen, it can also align people into united organizations that have the power to do great changes.
United organizations are collections of people who have come together under a similar cause. This could be the ultimate in an intentional community, or range anywhere from a family to a company. United is a keyword though, united means that it has become a collective.
adj. Combined into a single entity.
adj. Concerned with, produced by, or resulting from mutual action.
adj. Being in harmony; agreed.
But There Will Be Differences
Depending on the united collective, there may be one or there may be many leaders. As a husband and wife, there could be two leaders, regardless of the gender roles, and then throw in some kids who are all bosses?! And at each level of this united collective, there will and should always be leaders with ideas who feel strongly that their path should lead everybody forward. Without leaders it becomes very hard to have a united cause that keeps everybody together aligned. They are the message bearers, the spokespersons.
And in this united cause, does this direction or path always align with the overall goal and vision of the team? Surely everybody has a vision of their own.
Undoubtedly, it won’t always. How do these conflicts get resolved? How do we realize the differences, avoid hurt feelings, feel heard, and move forward more connected?
We Must Be Heard
Humans must be heard. All of us. It is a necessity to life. Without being heard, we will wither away and die. How do we feel heard and show another they are heard, even if we don’t move forward with their advice? even if we don’t align?
Herein lies the art of resolving conflict and being a truly great leader.
Win Win Situations
The concept of win/win means both sides come away from the interaction feeling like they have won. Win for the team trying to be excellent, and a win for the leader trying to be heard. Win for the family being a nice place to be a part of, win for the child trying to come into their own. Win for the farm as all inhabitants have a better living situation, win for the farmer who has made their chore more enjoyable, fulfilling, or streamlined.
If we are on the side of decision makers, of law makers, of leaders, how do we let those who speak their visions feel heard even if their words are not followed? How do we encourage people to stand up?
So often I’ve sent petitions to governments and companies around the world, only to get a cold response in the form of: “Dear Sir/Madame, thank you for your interest in our project. Rest assured, we are doing our best to ensure the environment and its inhabitants well-being are adhered to as we move forward with our vision.”
So often I bring ideas to the family for a new way of life, and I’m met with: “Nope, that won’t work.” or: “It’s too expensive.” or: “That’s going to be too much work.”
How can these responses change to make me feel heard, and for the team to grow? How can my reaction to these responses change to make me feel less rejected?
Rejection isn’t Rejection
Truth is, ideas are rather free, and rejection isn’t really rejection. Exercising our own consciousness in our daily tasks is most definitely the way towards a zen life. So by us even having the capacity to identify a change that could possibly be taken is a win situation for ourselves. We are strengthening our minds awareness and exercising our critical thinking muscle.
Conscious action on our own part means we recognize this exercise and understand that in the big scheme of things, all we’re trying to do is make things more enjoyable and if that conflicts with another persons definition of enjoyable, than there response has to be heard.
I believe any collective should pay people to think and share their thoughts with an opportunity for rejection with their ideas on how to move forward stronger. We should cherish people who choose to speak up and voice their vision and information. Most won’t. Most don’t even give the worker bees an opportunity to speak their voice. Most worker bees don’t feel empowered enough to speak, and fear the rejection means being fired.
Much like creating art, if our painting doesn’t sell, is it a rejection? Did the art fail?
In reality though, if our idea isn’t followed, or if something we teach somebody else isn’t believed, this maybe is an opportunity for us to learn ourselves. Perhaps we are going against the grain, or radically thinking. Have we asked ourselves if we are?
A funny thing happens though, the more one voices their opinions: you get used to sometimes not having your words completely listened to. Just like an artist should become open to just not being able to reach some people’s hearts. Rejection is feedback. Rejection is an opportunity to get back on the bike and try again.
Information is Wealth
With information we have everything. We have the world at our fingertips. I almost cringe to say it but Data is King. We know what others think with feedback, we learn a new angle to our vision, we have choices, we have options, we have the possibility for a breakthrough. We have the ability to grow. Data, or rather: information, is where it’s at.
Without information, we’re stagnant and likely to fizzle out. We are lost and blinded.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Change is hard. Change is hard enough in the most clear of situations, like knowing that we need to lose weight in order to get a hernia operation. When change is around something like how we react to a certain persons suggestions, or how we react to a certain persons way of life, or how we respond to a work environment.. it quite frankly triggers us. That is a whole new level of change that is so tied up in expectations we’ve learned through upbringing, faiths, or even societal expectations that it’s hard not to get emotional when we’re faced with the very thing we’re trying to intentionally not get worked up about.
Forgiveness is the way forth. People do not usually make the choices to intentionally hurt another human being or to cause an organization to fail. They make choices because with their skill set and knowledge they have made the best decisions possible to move forward with. That’s it.
So when somebody doesn’t listen to the suggestion I have put forth, they are not telling me I’m a bad person and wrong about everything. They are simply telling me that at this moment, they cannot what I’m saying the attention it deserves, or do not have the capacity or desire to make the change. If an organization doesn’t listen to my suggestion, they are simply saying that it doesn’t fit with the many behind the scenes functions I cannot see; it is too hard to implement.
Move Forward With Grace
I often imagine grace as a dialogue that runs smooth and witty, with a bit of sarcastic jabbing, but definitely elegance and respect, thus garnering respect and appreciation.
Ideally, when somebody comes to me with a suggestion or advice, grace is the way forward. I respect them for stepping up and voicing their opinions. I engage in dialogue to fully understand what they are suggesting. I respond to them to make them know they are heard, and I move forward with the upmost respect and consciousness of my actions.
As an affirmation: when I am rejected by somebody who does not choose this path, I listen to their response to my words, I respond to them so they know they are heard, and I am not overwhelmed with emotion because they have said no.
Wouldn’t it be nice if each suggestion was accepted and differences were kept to a minimum? Wouldn’t it be nice if everybody was always aligned?
Well, maybe not actually. There are too many paths. Our uniqueness as humans is too important. But, a huge step towards alignment within a team is to outline a code of ethics to embrace. What this does is gives a set of guiding principles that help inform decisions.
When a suggestion is dreamed up, it is cross checked with the ethics. Does it align? Is it contrary? Then it is presented to the group. As well, when a suggestion is heard, it is cross referenced to the ethic, like a backstop to keep the vision aligned. Very helpful.
The poor boy, ripped clothes and dirty hands, walked the streets looking for some food. He knew the streets well and knew which corners to look for any morsel of food to feed his starving mouth.
At the first corner, he stopped a second to look eye to eye with the cobbler who was out sweeping his entranceway. “Good day kind sir, great morning to hear the sound of leather soles on cobblestone isn’t it?” the young boy said. The cobbler just grunted and shook his head and adjusted the sign in the window to read OPEN and walked inside.
At the second corner, the hungry boy stopped and looked at the baker in the eye and said: “Kind sir, ’tis a fresh smelling morning, isn’t it?” The baker snorted to clear his nose, wiped the flour from his apron, took a bite of the baguette he was eating, gave a piece to the boy and said: “Run along home now.”
At the third corner, the hungry boy stopped and looked at the bookstore owner and said: “Good morning Ma’am, any good reads this morning?” She stopped, thought for a second, and said: “You know what young man, I think you just gave me an epiphany! What if I made a sign to put right there where you stand that read: ‘Read of the day’, and outlined a great book to read today and invited passers by in to discuss it? Are you any good at drawing?” She asked of the hungry boy?