How to stop arguing and embrace other perspectives

How to stop arguing and embrace other perspectives
Photo by Sarah Kilian / Unsplash

I have gone to the same San Antonio barber for 20 years. Noris knows my hair better than I do. I say, there’s a lot more salt than pepper than there used to be. She always replies, “Still hair.” During a recent visit, I asked her if she talks her clients out of a specific hairstyle request. She said, “I never argue with my clients.” I asked, “No matter what?” “No matter what they want,” she replied.

One occupational hazard of mentoring, coaching, and advising is that I sometimes fight too hard to convince in the process of helping. That’s not a winning strategy. People will always do precisely what they want—no more or less. I’m improving at not arguing with my clients, but I don’t think I’ll ever be as good at it as Noris.

Some thoughts:

1. What are you arguing for that requires others to act in a certain way or change their minds?

2. What would happen if you met that natural resistance with ease and grace?

3. What if you showed up intending to be helpful and laughed away any reaction that didn’t meet your expectations?

4. How much easier could you breathe if you gave up the reflexive need to control? How would that change your relationships?

5. What if you gave the people around you the latitude to choose how to do their work to achieve the goal?

6. What if you asked for permission before providing feedback?

7. What might happen if you asked others what would be helpful to them right now?

Our standards, expectations, and beliefs aren’t the truth. They are lenses we use to perceive the world. Our ability to influence may improve if we embrace other perspectives and ask more questions before acting.