This is going to be an excellent year
I have often said, success is not about the destination, and its not about the journey either. Its about THE PEOPLE on the way to your destination. Our dreams and visions are for the people. Through our interactions with them we get inspired to think, dream, and imagine.
To succeed, we find out what they want and serve them. Regardless of how talented and gifted we are, we still need to deal with people. And even after all the adventure is done, we are left with – people – the good, the bad, and the ugly. And we still need to deal with them.
But, I often think we forget just how powerful our interaction with people are.
So, here’s a perspective* from The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson of righteous memory –
“You think that human interactions are like chemical reactions. When two elements interact, they result in the creation of a third compound. But people aren’t chemicals.
~ When people interact its like A NUCLEAR REACTION ~
A nuclear reaction has a center, from which further reactions spread in all directions. As the outer rings of that sphere gets larger, the number of reactions grow exponentially.
Likewise, when you touch the heart of one person very deeply – even just for a moment – he in turn will touch many other people, triggering a nuclear explosion of positive influence.”
Your interactions with people are not chemical reactions resulting in a third compound. They are nuclear reactions with a far greater and powerful reach. In order words
Its not how many people you touch, but how deeply you touch them that determines your sphere of influence ~ Mendel Kalmenson
Now, the question is –
How do we engage in this nuclear reaction? How do we detonate this “bomb” the right way? How do we touch people deeply so that a nuclear reaction of positive influence that erupts from your two-way dialogue can grow to affect others through this one person you touch deeply?
Here’s a thought.
In your interactions, use open-ended questions.
I have been experimenting on friends and family and its been a good experience. For example, I used to ask my niece, “How was your day?” She would reply, “Good.” I would follow up with, “How was class?” and she would reply, “Okay.”
Drove me nuts. But, now, I say, “Tell me about your day in school.” If I want specifics, I say, “Tell me about the highlights of your day.”
That’s open-ended and invites the other to share. The point of open-ended questions is not a get a YES/NO answer.Its to create space for the other to speak freely. Open-ended questions help people feel heard. It gives them permission to release and to be themselves.
You can experiment too. Use phrases like, “Tell me, what do yo think of…” or “I am curious, could you tell me more about…? “I wonder what you would do if…,” “What are your expectations…” and so on.
Consider the following dialogue I had with a friend who was looking for some help but didn’t explicitly ask for it. I didn’t know if said friend wanted help or wanted to talk. So this is how I used open-ended questions to talk AND gather information on whether she needed help.
I used a rule from The Frustration of NOT Being heard which was –
Never give advice until it is explicitly asked for ~ Rabbi Daniel Lapin
So here’s the dialogue –
Friend: I’m having a terrible time trying to write a story
Me: For what class
Friend: Communications and Conflict
Me: Oh. That’s an interesting class. So, what do you currently have?
Friend: I’m writing about some close friends?
Me: Okay. What’s the direction you are thinking of going with it?
Friend: I’m recalling this incident where….(tells me). I don’t know where to go with it or how to tell the story.
Me: Wow. That’s heavy. So…what are you going to do now?
Friend: I don’t know what to do. I’m gonna fail this one and hopefully do better next time
Me: Soooo…is that the plan?
Friend: Do you have any suggestions?
Me: Tell me what you need?
Friend tells me the requirements.
Me: Here’s what I suggest. First…., second…, and third…! Does this help?
So, how did I do? What can you tell from this approach? I would love to know (share your thoughts in the comments below).
I wish you all a week full of good health and prosperity.
One Love, One Spirit
- The Rebbe’s Perspective is taken from: Seeds of Wisdom (Part 2 ), by Mendel Kalmenson (Pg 49)