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Workability

December 1, 2020

Imagine this: You’re in the passenger seat having a great conversation and your friend who’s driving is about to miss her exit.  You start to say something and she says, "Don’t interrupt me!"   She is deep into making her point… What do you do?  This might seem like a silly example to some of you.  But when we look at this from the broader perspective of life, and communication, this happens a lot. 

I’m sure you can relate to seeing a friend or loved one just about to metaphorically miss their exit.  They want a job in engineering but they won’t study for their math exam.  They want to resolve things with their spouse but they refuse to communicate honestly...As observers, we are screaming to ourselves, "You’re missing your exit!!"

We all have countless moments when we are confronted with thinking that we know what the right thing is for another.  And sometimes we are right!!  Sometimes they really are about to miss their exit.  And they thank us profusely and we feel really great about ourselves.

But sometimes, you don’t know where they are going!  

So when do you interrupt and tell them "get off here," and when do you let them live their life and figure it out their own way and make their own mistakes?  After all, you are not their GPS.  Do I need to say that again??  YOU ARE NOT THEIR GPS.

The question is really, how do you support someone without tampering or interfering with their GPS?  Are you ever guilty of hijack another's navigation system?  At times, instead of supporting, we are meddling and subverting.

So, how do you distinguish the difference?  You need to become sensitive to the nuanced difference between telling people that they are about to miss their exit - and telling someone which exit is the "right" one for them.

This takes introspection on your part.  Answering and asking challenging questions.  Why do you have an agenda for the other?  Are you taking their life choices personally?  Are you blaming the other for the way you feel about their choices?  Are you taking responsibility for your choices or blaming your circumstances on the "poor" choices they’ve made?  

These are just some of the beginning questions you will want to ask yourself.  There is a lot of introspective work that goes into becoming aware of your own intentions and responsibility.  It’s worthwhile work. The more aware you are of yourself and your intentions, the better you will be at truly supporting the people in your life.

To true support

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Since 1978 Workability has been helping individuals and organizations integrate who they are with what they do. Our greatest performances, relationships, and contributions are dependent on our authentic expression of who we are.

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