I vividly remember the very first time I had some kind of thought about personal growth. It wasn’t voluntary, and it wasn’t pleasant. Maybe that’s why I still remember it today, 45 years later. I can’t even take the credit for it, because it was my best (and only) friend who brought it to my attention. We were together, and I can’t remember exactly what we had been talking about, but suddenly he blurted out, “Why do you always have to be right?”
I knew it was true. I was always arguing my points, never giving in, always feeling I had to prove how right I was. I felt that being right was the most important thing. When I look back at this now, I am not surprised that I didn’t have many friends. Who likes to be with someone who always has to be right and prove the other person wrong? At the time I was sad and lonely and I blamed others. Now I know it was my fault, because I didn’t know how to connect.
That day was a wake up call for me. I never forgot that comment, and the hurt my friend must have felt. I think I have made some progress over the years, but it took many years before I started taking personal development more seriously. But it was a start, and what I started to see that day is something I am still working on today, connecting, really valuing others and their opinions, and doing what I can to also add value in their lives.
I have found that the key to my success, to my dreams, and to strong relationships is to put others, their success and their dreams, first. Any speaking or training I do is so much more powerful when I stop worrying about how I look or sound, or well people feel I am performing. Instead I try to think about how much I can try to teach them, how much value my message can add to them, how I can share of my experiences to enrich the lives of others. No matter who I am with, colleagues, a boss, family or friends, I am learning to change my focus from correcting to connecting. What a difference it makes.
I was trying to get ahead by correcting others, when I should have been connecting with others. – John Maxwell.