Are you? Or do I think you are?

light trails

Earlier this year in a meeting with one of my mentors at SFU I realized that one way I can communicate (and love) others better is by explaining myself – and by that I mean this. I can be a very inquisitive creature. Some call it “questioning”.. it’s even at the centre of my manifesto (question everything). Often I am just curious, but sometimes my ego gets in the way and I am trying to make a point. Usually in these cases I am not understanding and fully listening to the person talking… but sometimes people might assume that is what I am doing even when my intentions are purely focused on learning and understanding. Either way, the point is, by prefacing my intentions with context (why am I asking this) I can be clearer for my others, and when my ego gets in the way – myself.

Recently I learned that there is another way I can better love and communicate with others:

I was talking with this girl who was mentioning how she was not very good with words and was not very articulate. I immediately was surprised and told her that was was, in fact, quite articulate. Someone jokingly said that of course I know her better than she knows herself. I was so surprised, I never realized that my act of faith and goodwill might be misinterpreted and offending like that. I didn’t mean that I knew her better than she knew herself. Though perhaps I was discovering her more than she was discovering herself (opening up  to limitless possibilities). I quickly rephrased my comment and acknowledgement to state that I THOUGHT she was very articulate. I wonder which has more power:

  • I think you are _____ OR
  • You are _______

I think the first option leaves less room for the mis-interpretation I described, however the second is more affirming – it creates someone to be something. It is definitive.

Now I am remembering my experience at the PostSecret LIVE event last year. I was given a book by Frank Warren that said “the world needs your voice” inside. It has become quite my self-fulfilling prophecy. What if it had said “i think the world needs your voice”. I wonder what the difference would be.

In contrast sometimes I myself put myself down – mostly by accident or unintentionally when speaking. I wish others would call me on this and acknowledge me. I think often myself and other do it unintentionally – but it does make a difference. Or… i think it makes a difference : P


PS: some background on this practice of acknowledgement can be found:

Today’s Epiphany

Dr. Stephen Covey, one of North America’s most respected, widely read and frequently quoted leadership experts, and author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People , defines leadership as:

Communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.

I came across this quote as part of a leadership program I completed at SFU and I started making connections to the process of acknowledgement but I did not fully realize this connection until today.
Today it was made clear to me that…

if I just change my own behavior and use my aptitude for positivity to acknowledge others, then I can fully realize my potential for unconditional love.

By living with an appreciative mindset I notice and become attuned to the good in others and BY DOING THIS I can model how other people can do this as well. Then, they will also notice and become attuned to the good in others and (more importantly) themselves.

The thing I love most about the phase BE LOVE is that I continue to understand it on deeper and deeper levels.

Please watch the videos that SuperForester Matthew posted from the Leaders Causing Leaders Conference of Matthew and Terces Engelhart HERE.

I think i’ve seen this about 10 times and I STILL get stuff out of it. MAGICAL. Seriously. We create each other, so make us beautiful.

This insight also came out of a three day workshop I am completing and book I read called Clear Leadership. Good stuff.

So, what do you want to be acknowledged for?