In working to build trusting and collaborative relationships, add these tools to your repertoire:
Self-talk: When I have a “run in” with another person, I often talk my way through it by looking in the mirror. Facing my own reflection, (this holds me accountable to myself), the questions I ask myself include:
“What role did you play in that misunderstanding, miscommunication or conflict?”
- What are your underlying assumptions?
- Why is this difficult for you?
- What do you really want?
- Why is that so important to you? To your self-concept?” (Yes, I talk to myself a lot! In the car, the bathroom mirror, in my sleep).
I write about my flawed thinking in a journal I keep for this specific purpose. When everything is going well, I may not write in it for a few months or a year. When I’m really stretching myself and growing, I write in it 2 or 3 times a year because I’m testing my limits and making more mistakes.
Journaling allows me to stop noodling on the same thoughts, get them out of my head and gain a fresh perspective. Reading them allows me to take an objective stance, as if I were talking to another person.
Be grateful for growth opportunities:
Of course, the hardest part is sitting with your thoughts and self-concept when you misstep. Personally, after a few days, I’ve had enough of myself and it’s time to talk with the person who “tweaked me.” It’s time to thank them for being courageous enough to name what they were seeing.
Live and learn:
This is the best way I know to experience and to model growth. Remind yourself that like everyone else, you are responsible for the way you show up. You always get to choose your behavior. Now go out there and stumble — move through the world and do your best to build trusting relationships. When you make a mistake, look yourself in the mirror, ask yourself a few tough questions, “sit with it,” journal, acknowledge your role and do better the next time around.