Sometimes it’s the monotonous things that have an impact on our outlook. This week I had a brief email conversation with a colleague that was meant to discourage me. However, it turned out to be a kick in the right direction for me! Little did this person know that her intention did not achieve it’s objective.
The majority of our time is spent communicating with someone else. Whether at home or at work, we are almost always in conversation with someone else. Those conversations tend to have a huge impact on how we view our selves, how we feel and how we respond in action to what has been said.
If not careful, this can be detrimental. Let’s face it, there are more negative people than positive, so we have to learn to filter productively what we hear from others and be able to pick and choose what will have lasting impact on who we are becoming. Here are a few suggestions:
First, be intentional about who you hear. There are many people offering advice
on topics they have little knowledge in. Even though you may not be able to avoid conversations with self proclaimed experts, know ahead of time the difference in idle talk and an opportunity to learn from someone in a position to teach. As people wanting to grow, we must shield ourselves from undue criticism from someone that we shouldn’t be listening to in the first place.
Second, be intentional about what you say. There is no way to underestimate the power of words. We are all in a position of leadership, we have influence over others. Very few people learn the skill of filtering words so that they in essence become an art form spoken with precision and authority. When you speak, realize that every word has an impact.
Finally, look at your filtering system. Just like we change filters in our home that get nasty and full of ugly mites and dust, we need to change the internal filter of what goes in to who we are and what goes out to others. We cannot afford to give everyone influence over us, so we need to filter carefully to whom we give power. This is one of the most important life skills we can learn.
My colleague meant to discourage me. At first I was stunned, but then I was able to look at the situation realize she had no credentials or expertise to back up what was said. Her words were not from a bank of knowledge but from a lack of it. It was my job to take time to review the conversation and filter the information and determine how to use it.
People are powerful. We influence, as do they. One of our key jobs is to determine who gets the power and who does not. It’s really as simple as changing the filter. If you don’t, it can get messy quick. If you do, it’s like a breath of fresh air.