Workplace Communication

It’s not about you.

Although not many of us want to admit it, we’re all pretty self-centered. Someone drives too slowly in front of us and we get mad because they’re messing up our schedule. Our child gets in trouble in school and we’re embarrassed because it reflects poorly on us. A coworker gets credit for something we did and we get annoyed. If you’re a leader, you might be worried about maintaining control, getting promoted or looking good to YOUR bosses.

If any of the above sounds similar to something you’ve experienced and felt, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to remind yourself, “It’s not about me.”

The person driving slowly in front of you knows nothing about your day or your schedule. In fact, he doesn’t know you or care about your day at all. He’s just doing his thing at his own pace. If you want to have a little empathy for him, if only to reduce your own stress, consider that he may be lost or just a little unsure how quickly his turn is coming up. When your child gets in trouble in school, it’s a reflection on the child’s behavior, not you as a person. A coworker who gets credit for your joint work probably didn’t ask for the recognition, and it was likely just an oversight on the part of the person who recognized her. If you’re a leader, your focus should be on the goals of the organization, the needs of your employees, and helping others achieve their potential.

This week, set a goal of saying, “It’s not about me,” every time you find yourself in a situation where you’re focused on others, try to take yourself out of the equation and see things from another person’s or a more objective perception. When you do, you’ll find that your week is not only less stressful, but this new focus on others will give you the perspective to achieve your mutual goals.

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