Did you ever have one of those dreams that screws up your mood and has the potential to ruin your whole day? Not a scary dream; those are easy because you wake up and see there is no clown at the foot of your bed holding a chainsaw and an artichoke. You get scared, realize you’re safe and move on. Sure your heart is pounding, but it’s over. No, I mean the ones where you wake up heart broken, feeling like you got punched in the gut and wishing you could get back into the dream because it was so much better than reality. Those are tougher to shake off because at the core they are more real; conjured by an experience, a thought, something that triggers a memory or unfulfilled desire. There is a part of you that exits in that dream and in real life making the separation of the two more difficult and the options for dealing with it more challenging. When something upsets you, real or imagined, it can be difficult to get past right away until you can isolate the cause and find the right way to respond.
In life, in business, we don’t always have the luxury of reacting the way we want when something troubles us. We have to temper our feelings, maybe even push them aside and measure our response as we try to understand the why so we can cope, move on and accomplish our objectives. I choose to believe most people’s intentions are good and their goal isn’t to upset, but just like we don’t go to bed expecting to have a dream that makes us feel bad, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. We can be unpredictable and unaware sometimes of how our actions or words are perceived. We insinuate or say things that fail to properly clarify our intent and can have multiple interpretations. This can be a result of poor communication skills or an overzealous nature to accomplish a goal. There may be times when an individual need becomes the priority clouding the judgment and closing the ears to different perspectives and needs. Likewise, problems can be the result of our own preconceived ideas or a past experience that we, or someone we know, had. The important thing is to simply recognize these possibilities and realize that each conversation, contact, communication, is a chance to build, or rebuild, relationships and create an environment of mutual respect.
So, before we send an email, have a conversation, or post on social media, we need to consider our intent, ultimate objective and how the message will be received. A daunting task I know, but let me put it into context. When I put together an article like this I start days in advance with an idea. I start writing, trying to convey a thought, but all the way up until I hit “send” I’m editing, changing, rewording, etc. in hopes that the real meaning comes across and not something unintended. I try to craft something impactful, but broad enough to show that the ideas expressed apply to us all from time to time. It may not always work, but as long as the effort is there, I am content. I’m not saying it should take days to send someone an email or to write out a script before making a call. All I’m saying is be cognizant about the impact your words and their delivery can have. Make sure the why is clear and that all aspects, especially when you’re part of a group with varying backgrounds, are considered with equal weight. This doesn’t mean every decision reached or action taken will be loved by all, but if the communication is clear, if other points of view are considered and if the why is explained, we reduce the potential negativity that can otherwise result and hold us back from reaching our potential.