What You Can Learn From Knowing How Other People See You

In last week's post, I suggested an exercise to develop a word portrait of yourself as seen through the eyes of your friends. All you had to do was to invite five friends to send you a quick list of six words that come to their mind when they think about you. I promised I'd let you know my results from this little exercise. So here goes--though I must confess that sharing it makes me feel exposed. Seeing Myself Through the Eyes of Others I found myself a bit anxious … [Read more...]

A Simple Way to Find Out How Other People See You

Have you ever caught yourself glancing at your reflection in a mirror or glass as you walk by? Does Your Mirror Tell the Truth? Do you have a sense that what you see when you look in mirror might not be telling you the truth? Or at least not the whole truth? The question you’re probably really wondering about is not how you look to yourself, but what you look like through the eyes of others. And the way others see you is often not what you see when you look in the … [Read more...]

The Power of Imperfection

I’ll bet you like to do things really well. It feels good. And it’s satisfying. How Important is Perfection? Perfection may be satisfying, but takes a huge amount of time and energy and effort. How much effort should you put into making the things you do letter perfect? If you watched the amazing performances of ice skater Yuna Kim at the 2014 Winter Olympics, you’ll see a great example of perfection. She might not have won her second gold medal, but her … [Read more...]

Reading Someone Else’s Story to Strengthen Your Relationship

We all love a good story. That's the appeal of movies and novels and theater. A good story takes you on a journey and touches your heart. And we all have our own stories -- private stories that shape the way we behave. Finding the Deeper Story Get to know those deeper personal stories about the people you work with and you'll start building powerful, effective relationships. Here's an example: I get excited about ideas. And once an idea takes hold of me, watch … [Read more...]

Using Constructive Conversation to Push Past Anger

Anger takes too much energy to sustain for very long. And once it fades, it's time to put the pieces of your relationship back together again. If you sit with your anger for a few hours or days, it'll lose it's hold on you. That sharp, insistent sense of having been disrespected or betrayed gradually fades. After a few days, you might even forget who did what to whom and what was so hurtful. What Role Did You Play in the Dispute? Though you may still sense that you were … [Read more...]

Ubuntu: I Am Because of You

Ubuntu is the African word that means "I am because of you." It captures the idea that we are inextricably bound together. I came across this word in a lovely TED talk by Boyd Varty, a South African whose family knew and housed Nelson Mandela when he was released from prison. By chance, Mr. Varty was scheduled to give his TED talk on the very day of Nelson Mandela's death. This talk expresses our interconnectedness so poignantly through simple stories that I'm happy to … [Read more...]

My Friendship with a Felon

Meet Clemetin, my most unlikely friend. Nearly five years ago, I met Clemetin at St Mary's Park in the South Bronx where I exercise most mornings. I had no idea that he had spent most of his nearly 45 years in prison. Gradually, while we walked around the track at the park together morning after morning, I learned his story. But by the time I had learned enough about him to warn me away, we had become friends. Clemetin's story is both sad and uplifting. His life … [Read more...]

Winning as a Hare — And as a Tortoise

Though I have no scientific proof, I'm quite sure that our pace in life — the speed with which we function — shapes the way we see the world. For example, I'm like a hare — a speed demon. Ask me something and you’ll get the answer before you’ve finished the question. Walk down the block with me and I guarantee you’ll stretch your legs! But how much of what’s around me do I actually see? I’ve been thinking about personal pacing and observation because I recently … [Read more...]