A friend of mine recently said that he liked what I was all about but that I was somewhat hard to get to know.
This got me thinking. I have heard many times in my past that I am intimidating and unapproachable. It’s true that I am very passionate and enjoy a fast-paced, exciting lifestyle. Amanda tells me from time to time that I have too much excited energy, even for her, especially since she has a more introverted personality. I’ve come to realize that this trait can be overwhelming to the people around me. Because I have learned and grown through the years, I have more awareness in this area of my life now. However, today I asked myself “What else?” Meaning, what else about me causes me to be perceived in a way I might not want. I’m sure there are a lot of things, but I only want to talk about a couple.
First, I believe the way we think affects the way we behave. And the way we behave has a direct affect on the results we get. For the majority of my life I made my living based solely on what I could do for someone. For 20 years I was a contractor that got results for my customers because of what I could do for them. The customer needed grading or paving done? Well then, that is what I can do for them. My personal value and my company’s value was based on what we could do for the customer. There is nothing wrong with this way of thinking, right? Or is there?
As I reflect, I realize that since I saw my value in what I could do, I viewed the people around me through the same lens. What this meant to me was that if you couldn’t help me get what I wanted then I didn’t need to waste my time on you. You probably already know that my approach was not a highly successful way to build healthy relationships. My thinking was most definitely affecting my marriage. It was not pretty at all but I don’t have time to talk about all those issues right now.
Thinking habits are hard to change for me. Although my self-awareness is higher than it’s ever been, I would be lying if I told you I never revert back to my old habits of thinking. Through the growth process I have learned the problem with my early thoughts were that they were ultimately selfish. Oh yes, I justified my behavior. At work I would say ‘What the customer wants is what’s most important’. This isn’t a bad way to think, in general. But for me, this was my copout for not really valuing my employees. It was an excuse to only give attention to those putting money in my pocket. As I grew, I began to realize the most valuable people were the ones around me, working with me day in and day out. Particularly, my team of employees. When I began to value my team by investing in them (i.e: giving them my time, money, energy and attention) they actually produced better results. This made our customers happier. It certainly made my team happier. And because it was about them and not me anymore, an added bonus was that I was happier. That’s what I call a triple win!
Now let’s fast-forward. Today my goal every day is to inspire everyone I come in contact with to reach their God-given potential. I call it their ‘Greatness’. In order for me to accomplish my purpose in life I have to remind myself of how long it takes to change old habits.
I have to listen to the people around me and acknowledge when I fail. I have to be willing to talk about my weaknesses. They are already obvious to everyone else, anyway. So for me, one of my many constant struggles is developing the skills to demonstrate that I value people. Most importantly, that I leave people feeling valued by me.
This approach I’m taking now is focused more on WHO I am becoming and how I treat others. When I work hard on being the best version of myself and treat other people better than they want to be treated, I get better results in my own life.
What about you?