Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Have you ever offered help, not because you truly had the time to, but because you know it’s the right thing to do? You legitimately care about others and want to ensure they are secure, safe, happy, good. However, if you are honest with yourself, you have just made an offer that may be too much for you to currently fulfill.

It’s not that you don’t want to help. It could just be that you’re simply exhausted or overtaxed with numerous other responsibilities. Yet, you offered. We pour into someone else’s cup and do not refill our own. At some point, we must be real with ourselves and ensure that we leave something for ourselves.

I am one who genuinely wants to help others. I consider the ability to do so as a blessing. Making a positive difference in someone’s life, regardless of how big or small, generates a wonderful feeling for me.

Our president, Roy Wells, recently introduced me to the teachings of the Arbinger Institute. Founded in 1979 by Dr. C. Terry Warner, Arbinger works with people and organizations to understand two mindsets and how those mindsets impact our dealings with others.

By beginning to explore Arbinger’s materials, I’ve begun to see roles I could play in self-deception. I thought I was very outward in my approach to life. I have begun to understand that at times, I can exhibit a bit of an inward mindset. This was a real a-ha moment for me recently.

In the moment, I had to ask myself if I’ve always given people what they needed or if I gave them what I thought they needed. Can I be better in being curious enough to understand the actual need before making the offer to act?

In a recent Arbinger training, I was introduced to the S.A.M. model:

  • See others
  • Adjust efforts
  • Measure impact

While I have always considered myself to be very outward in my dealings and abilities, there are instances where I may have had a me-focused mindset. For example, our team was recently discussing a meeting and scheduling. My mind immediately went to everything else I had going on in my own life given our new realities of working remotely and all that comes with that.

I was not wrong for having the thought. It’s natural to think about how group decisions will impact you directly. But if I were to have thought about the schedule from an outward mindset, I would have considered the team’s needs, along with my own, and given more thought to how to balance the two.

Through the lessons I have gained from Arbinger, I am beginning to develop more of an outward mindset. I am being more intentional about seeing people as people. In doing so, I began to really work to understand their needs, their perspectives, their desires, their challenges, their lives.

As a part of what I gained in the S.A.M. lesson, I gave some thought to who I collaborate with most on Triad’s team. I then asked one of those individuals to consider the following questions:

  • How do I positively or negatively impact your ability to complete your work?
  • How can I be most helpful to you?
  • How and how often would you like to do an accountability check-in to ensure that what I am doing continues to balance and support your efforts?

Here is the thing: you cannot be afraid to pose the questions. You must be ready to accept the answers provided, even if those responses do not paint you in the best light.

Through the S.A.M. model, I realize the work does not stop here. You cannot just see people. Nor can you pose the questions and then not act. We see people, places, things every day. We have to go a step farther.

We now have to be intentional about adjusting our personal efforts when it comes to engagement. Making efforts to get to know someone, to connect on a human level, to understand their perspectives (regardless of whether it gels with one’s own) is your intentionality to adjust your efforts with him or her.

I challenge those of you reading this to pose these questions to your colleagues. And once you receive their responses, consider your roles in each of those relationships and the efforts you can make, to adjust.

The final step in employing S.A.M. in your personal and professional development is measuring your impact. Hold yourself accountable for the impacts your work has on others.

At this stage, you rate yourself in each of the roles you serve. Looking through a lens of your capabilities, your impact, and your efforts, you will be able to determine what you could be or should be doing to continue making positive contributions to the overall team.

When I began to explore this stream of consciousness, I came across this quote from Deepak Chopra:

“By becoming self-aware, you gain ownership of reality; in

becoming real, you become the master of both inner and outer life.”

My interpretation of this is I can truly understand my inward and outward mindsets when I am truly ready to accept that I may not be as outward as I thought. And what that means is, I am open to still learning and growing.

I am making a conscious decision to make some adjustments if I need to. And I will intentionally do periodic temperature checks with my colleagues on those adjustments.

This is a LOT to take in. You open yourself to being vulnerable, but in your vulnerability lies strength.

Join me on this outward mindset journey. I look forward to sharing more.