Had lunch with a friend the other day just to catch up on things. She's smart and creative and I was excited because I enjoy just hanging with her.
Lunch didn't go so well.
We dove right into what was happening at work and at home as good friends do without any pretense or affect. We were relaxed. I mentioned a project I'd been working on and the difficulties I was having getting the team focused and aligned. Something like, if they would just listen to me we wouldn't waste all this energy plowing around looking for a direction, blah, blah, blah.
She listened for a bit and then stopped me so cleanly with…
Why Is It All About You?
Lunch didn't taste so good after that.
Afterwards I reflected in silence. (Need time to really think? Get a home office and live alone.)
My friend wasn't being supportive, she doesn't get my work, doesn't understand the team dynamics (bullshit alert when you use the word 'dynamics' in your self-talk friends) and so on. All about me and my bruised ego.
And then I took a figurative look in the mirror and realized it wasn't about me – or you.
Its about intent
My clients are smart. People that don't hire me are pretty smart too. Most of the folks I know from the guy who runs the corner store (no really, its actually on the corner) to the person at the movies who gets me my order as soon as she sees me walk in (true: have I mentioned I see a lot of movies?) are pretty smart.
Its not a question of who's the smartest guy in the room – its about the intent I started with, and will start with in the future. When your intention is to help the group, there's not a lot of room left for “I”.
Life isn't competition its cooperation
If my interest is in truly helping my client the only “I” focus needed is how I can help move the convo forward. How I can help people feel more engaged and involved. How I can be a better instrument, a more effective facilitator, a better team mate. How I can add value.
My intent isn't me for me: its me for you.
Looking in the mirror can be hard. But it doesn't have to be.
Sometimes its enough to have a friend who can help you see things a little more clearly by asking one or two questions. The figurative mirror we all need.
So do yourself a favor: take someone you trust to lunch.
And pick up the tab.