One of the Most Important Life Lessons I’ve Learned

Andrea Kihlstedt's Life Lessons
I’m old enough to know better.

I assumed that when someone didn’t follow through that it was a fluke. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Only to find out that he didn’t follow through again and again.

A Cautionary Tale

Recently a young, savvy guy in my fundraising field reached out to me to see if I’d open some doors for him.  I met with him in person and was impressed. Smart, articulate, energetic, informed.  All of the things I like.  Before we parted, I made a little list of the ways I might send some opportunities his way.

He was pleased, or so he seemed.

I went home and was mildly surprised not to get a thank you email from him that afternoon. I noticed and wondered, but I didn’t want to make assumptions.

Perhaps he was just busy. But… Strike 1. (Three days later, he did send a thank you email.)

I sent his name on to three people who might be helpful to him. But again, didn’t hear from him. Strike 2.

When we met, he had enthusiastically offered to review a draft of a chapter in my new book. I sent it to him. No response. Strike 3 — and yes, he’s out!

Kihlstedt’s First Rule: People Are Consistent

I have learned again and again that if I watch carefully how people communicate early in our dealings, it will tell me something important about them. Because over time, they won’t improve. They’ll either stay the same or go down hill.

Here’s the lesson:

If you have qualms about someone because they don’t communicate clearly or promptly or effectively when you first meet them, then don’t expect them to behave better later. They won’t.

TryTry ThisThis

Notice Your Consistent Patterns

Notice this week how you communicate with people. Are you prompt and thorough and clear? Do you get right back to them or do you take your time? What are your consistent patterns and are they they ones you want to keep or change?

Share your thoughts about the importance of noticing consistent patterns in yourself and others. come on over to Facebook and leave your comment there.