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Friction - Make it Professionally Useful

My mind has been on one again.... I need to go get a degree in psychology or social work - I love understanding humans. We are eccentric and complex creatures! Lately, I've been mulling over this idea of "friction" between people and the energy exchanged in that contact - is it positive and empowering or does it leave you feeling raw like you didn't say what you needed to? And how do we affect one another that briefly, sometimes with very little communication at all?

hand lettering "be curious, not judgmental"

This wise guy named Walt Whitman once wrote: Be curious, not judgmental.

If only it were that easy, Walt! I have found in business, that you bump into people often. Be it clients, co-workers, employees or bosses - you're bound to crash into each other on occasion. Sometimes you are running in a parallel line and that touchpoint is a positive interaction that propels you forward. Sometimes that contact is a head-first crash that sends you both flying in opposite directions. This is obviously metaphorical, but I think we've all felt that "friction" between personalities. I've been challenging myself to be hyper-aware of that abrasion and catching myself when it's my quick-to-judge personality that causes the friction. If you find that you run into similar challenges, again and again, it may be time to look in a mirror and think about what your tendencies are. Changing your reality usually requires a whole load of self-awareness for how you affect the people around you, especially when it comes to varying personalities in a workplace where everyone is rallying toward their version of success. There's a book called The Four Agreements that perfectly highlights the importance of this self-awareness. The author, Don Miguel Ruiz, proposes four principles for creating an abundant life that can be applied in your personal life and in business. If you haven't read it yet, do it tonight. I've found that these four fundamentals can totally change the way you bump into those around you.

  1. Be Impeccable with your Word Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid speaking poorly of yourself or gossiping about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and compassion.

  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. When you are immune to the opinions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

  3. Don’t Make Assumptions This is the golden nugget: Be curious, not judgmental. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Put your expectations plainly on the table and ask others to do the same. Keep an open-mind so you can to avoid misunderstandings and drama.

  4. Always Do Your Best Your 'best' will change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick; in a business situation as opposed to personal; alone as opposed to in a group. Under any circumstance, set out to do your best, and you will avoid disappointing yourself and, in most cases, disappointing others.

I try to remind myself of these as often as possible. If you make these agreements the foundation to your perception of the world, you will start to see less and less friction between you and the people around you. You might even start to intentionally bump into others in a proactive way. Spend just a moment empowering those around you who will, in turn, support your hustle when you need a push. Be good. e

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