Be the change you want to see in the world. Mahatma Ghandi
When I am pushed out of my comfort zone or god forbid someone disagrees with me, I try very hard to be understanding and open-minded, but sometimes, just sometimes, I forget everything I have learnt and go for the reflex reaction. For me, that tends to be skepticism. Unfortunately, skepticism, especially coupled with criticism, is about the least productive output in any situation.
I do try to keep myself in check when in company of others, but every once in a while I catch myself. Closing off my mind, thinking along my own path and continuously saying “No” in my head, not staying open to the ideas and opinions around me. Most importantly, I catch myself dwelling on the fact, that I am not happy in the current situation, as opposed to doing something to change it.
I’m sure we have all been there, sitting in a meeting where a discussion around a particular subject morphed into something completely different, people have gone on a tangent, ranting about something completely unrelated to the purpose of why you got together in the first place. I am no saint here, I have done it, not just once, many times. If I’m in the moment and on a roll, all it takes is one person in the group to go along with me and I can get completely lost – I mean, having someone agree with me does flatter the ego…
The problem is being the person on the flip side of that very interesting and inspiring conversation, the one sitting in a meeting room, staring at the ceiling, willing it all to be over and people to get back to the point. And doing nothing about it. I mean, it’s so much easier to just complain about the meeting afterwards than making the effort to steer it back in the right direction there and then…Guilty as charged!
The problem is, if a meeting is not productive, there needs to be a second meeting, to cover the stuff you didn’t get to in your first meeting, and then probably another meeting to discuss the stuff you didn’t get to in the second meeting and so on and so forth! And who wants to be in a vicious cycle of meeting after meeting after meeting after meeting… I certainly don’t!
So, I challenge myself – and you for that matter – to do as Ghandi says and change myself from being a passive skeptic to becoming an active enabler! To speak up when I can steer a conversation back in the right direction, be open, engaged and focused in every interaction and be the change I want to see in others.