How to preserve our relationship
I laughingly look back on my life wondering how smart I really am. I remember the first time I heard Garth Brooks perform (long before he became THE Garth Brooks) and I remember being quite vocal about how I did not like his music and how I thought he would never go anywhere in his career.
Oh well, sometimes we are wrong about stuff.
One decision I made several years ago seems to have been relatively smart and that was to take my thoughts and insights to LinkedIn. When I first joined the platform, I struggled to reach out, not sure about what steps to take or who to reach out to. Over the years I found that LinkedIn, when used properly and professionally is really a pretty great community. I have enjoyed getting to know all of you. I have learned amazing things from so many, gotten insights, gotten advice, discovered new markets, and enjoyed reading books some of you have written.
LinkedIn has become a great source for me, but it has also become a sort of home for me as a professional. I attribute this to two things: The networks I have chosen and the type of people you all are. I do not miss my days on Facebook, nor do I miss the negativity.
With all that said, I will admit that every once in a while there are some “spirited discussions” here as well, but within my network, I have yet to see anyone eat someone else and spit out the bones. For that, I thank you all.
We are now about to embark together on a very scary journey into the future. None of us know what that future holds but I think we can all agree that we are becoming a bit pensive. Will it be a Biden landslide? Will the Trump indictment rattle the cages of the right and result in a takeover? Will a Florida Governor quietly slip by the loud crowd toward the finish line? Is it possible we have another President Kennedy?
Is Texas doing the right thing when it comes to Homeland Security? Is California really doomed? Is Taylor Swift’s new music really more thought-provoking than her old stuff?
Friends, there is going to be a lot to argue about over the next 18 months or so, and a lot is about to happen in our country that is going to incite feelings, emotions, thoughts, and reactions. People are going to try to share and will be misunderstood. Egos will take over our brains and keyboards. It is time for the true professionals to resolve together that we will protect our community.
This platform has always been a place where I could go for help and I know this to be true of others as well. I have seen responders ask for help with PTSD and receive it immediately. I grieve over the loss of Linkedin connections when they pass despite never knowing them in person. I look forward to conferences so I can put faces to names. I am sure it is the same with you.
Over the next year, we will be tested. I will be tested. Some of you will post things that will stir my very soul and I will want to post my knee-jerk reaction, but today I am here to tell you that I am resolving to follow a few rules. I just read an article by author and educator Irshad Manji that had some really great advice in it.
1. Take a deep breath so you can process thoughts more clearly.
2. Create common ground by acknowledging that you are going to disagree but also that there is much more to this other person than this issue. This is where so much has gone wrong lately- we ignore the humanity of each other.
3. Ask a sincere question. Sincerity goes a long way in building bridges. Expressing curiosity admits vulnerability and opens a door to learning.
Manji recommends asking the other person what you’re missing about their point of view. By asking someone to teach you, they might reciprocate. As Manji puts it, “You are modeling what it is to build the kind of culture that makes for inquiry rather than an inquisition.”
4. Listen. Once the question is asked, sit back and listen. Really listen. Manji says you can either listen to win or to learn. Listening to win means poking holes in their argument the entire time. Don’t try to manipulate the other person with “gotcha” questions. Listen to learn.
5. Ask another question. “Tell me more.”
Friends, I am not asking for all us to gather in a big group hug. Some of you drive me crazy and I am sure that is mutual. The goal is that we be the professionals we have always been and that we perhaps maintain some level of respect for each other and our industries. So far this is the last place I have to go for productive conversations and advice, friendship and insight.
Progress is made when two people want to learn from one another.
If this is the first blog post of mine you have ever read, then spend some time going back and reading some more. Share my blogsite (in case I do ever get censored for something and kicked off Linkedin). You will see that I have been working hard at bringing things to the table that everyone can use, and I appreciate the hundreds of you that do the same.