Before I walk into a meeting room or an event full of potential, brewing conversation, I already know five things.
- The culture I want to bring is one of inclusiveness.
- Regardless of what any conversation brings, my default will be to respect you and I will do everything I can to reflect this in my actions.
- My emotions will not dictate how I treat you.
- I want my behaviour to reflect that I believe at the core of my being, that each and every person has inherent value.
- I thought I had five when I wrote five above, but I only have four.
How do these convictions play out when I walk into that room for me personally? I’m willing to engage with anyone who may look socially uncomfortable. I’m willing to ask questions; what do you do with your time? Do you enjoy it? Do you have hobbies? This engagement reflects and communicates that I am interested in your life, I am willing to find value from what you have to share. How is this person’s behaving as we have this discussion? What does their body language say? Better yet, what does my body language communicate?
This understanding comes from having an awareness of how people impact each other. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “no man is an island” – and this is true! We do not live isolated, and we have an ability to set a culture by our behaviour and actions. Self-awareness is the first step in developing this: understanding who you are and who you aren’t, because you’ve probably noticed by now that you surround yourself with people that are similar to who you think you are and what you think your values, beliefs and convictions are.
I feel it’s important to note that if you’re anything like me and this value for self-awareness and loving people well can somehow dance (somewhat gracefully) across the line into hypervigilance, it’s important to develop the skill to rest and have healthy boundaries (if you’re not sure what healthy boundaries are, go right now and buy Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend’s book ‘Boundaries’). Self-awareness means knowing that even when you’re not at your best, your desire to express how you value others can manifest in a number of different ways (and does not mean not loving yourself well enough by not getting the rest you need).
So, I leave you with these questions: who are you before you enter a room? Have you decided who you will be regardless of external factors? Do you know how you might handle someone disagreeing with you? What five things (or four) do you know about who you are before entering a room?