When I believe in something, I used to spend all of my time trying to “sell” that idea to others and trying to get them to embrace what I saw. If people didn’t agree with me, or my viewpoint, I would often got extremely frustrated and get nowhere closer than where I was before. I hear this same approach from so many other people who tell me about the countless hours they try to get people to “embrace change”, and what I have learned is to spend less time defending your position, and spend more time asking questions.
For example, start a conversation with, “You and I are here to do what is best for kids. Why do you feel the way that you do about this?” What is powerful in this type of question is you start with building a common goal and show someone that you believe they are doing what they feel is right for kids. The other element is that you are asking their thoughts, as opposed to getting them to try to simply understand your viewpoint. Once you learn about someone else, and try to build some empathy for their situation and mindset, it is much easier to help them move forward. Sometimes, you also might realize that you are closer to one another than you thought.
We have to realize that in many cases, the best solution is not one extreme or another, but somewhere in the middle. If you don’t listen and ask questions, it is much harder to get to that point.
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