This is a 3 min. exercise I’ve been doing in my trainings. I created it because relationships are a great source of energy. Given our limited mobility these days and the constraints of online interaction, who can’t do with a bit more energy? But relationships can also drain our energy. So it’s crucial to know which are and are not energizing us.
Make a list of the top 5 to 10 people that you spend more time with, people that occupy your physical and/or psychological time. The nature of the relationship is not relevant here. However people you love but don’t spend too much time with are not for this list.
Make two columns. On the left write “Bummer”, on the right write “Booster”. In the “Booster” column put the names above of the relationships that are energizing you. In the “bummer” put the names of relationships that are currently draining you. When in doubt, opt for the bummer side.
Do this honestly. Notice that we’re talking about the state of the relationship and not the person. Relationships have ups and downs. You might have a relationship with someone you love dearly that is currently in a bummer state.
For the people in the booster column commit to reinforce your relationship with plenty of positive feedback, compliments and appreciation. This will strengthen the booster loop you have going.
For the people in the bummer column, choose one of these three options:
Option 1: End the relationship. If the relationship really doesn’t bring anything significant to your life and you are in a position to end it, end it.
Option 2: Fix the relationship. If the relationship is one you value deeply and want to continue, then it’s time to have one of those talks and let them know you’re being drained. Left as is, this relationship can turn toxic.
Option 3: Insulate (not isolate) yourself from the other person. If you can’t end the relationship, and it just ins’t worth fixing, you want to protect yourself from their draining influence.
This is done with what Andres Martin, founder of the Foundation for Emotional Education of Barcelona, calls an “emotional condom”. A condom allows you to interact without getting infected, in this case, without draining your energy. This is choosing to walk away, inside.
“You must lay aside the burdens of the mind; until you do this, no place will satisfy you.”
SENECA (c. 4 BC – AD 65), Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, and dramatist
“It isn’t just how intelligent your team members are;
It is how much of that intelligence you can draw out and put to use.”
LIZ WISEMAN (1964), Researcher and executive advisor, author of New York Times bestseller Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation,
we are challenged to change ourselves.”
VICTOK FRANKL (1907-1997), Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, a Holocaust survivor, and author of “Man’s Search For Meaning“
“The problem is not the problem.
The way we see the problem is the problem.”
STEPHEN COVEY (1932-2012), author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
The Golden Rule — treat others as you would like others to treat you — is well intentioned in that it asks us to extend fairness and respect to others. But the outcomes are not necessarily good.
The problem is that it is based on a fundamentally flawed assumption.
The assumption that you want what I want, that fairness and respect mean for you what they mean for me. And this is rarely true. This is particularly relevant given the evils caused by the racism and the violence we’re seeing these days.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of assuming my way is the right way, and then to treat others as I think I should, without taking into account what they want. This is dangerous because it can make them feel disrespected and I might end up resenting the fact that they are being unappreciative of my efforts.
And we don’t have to go halfway across the world to make a difference. This applies to how we treat people at work, at home, on the streets, and in social media. Lest we come across as jerks, we want to be careful NOT to treat others like we would like them to treat us, unless we’re sure that is what they really want.
Never assume you know what others want. The alternative is to practice empathy.
The golden art of putting ourselves in their shoes to figure out how they would like to be treated. And we will probably be surprised by how much that can differ from what we expected to be appropriate.
If we are going to build a more fair, generous and compassionate world, we’re going to need a better rule. Here’s an iteration:
THE GOLDEN RULE 2.0
Treat others as THEY would like to be treated.
Have you heard of a technique that helps with tedious tasks and stressful situations?
One that can be practised at any time, in any place, and by anyone, including children?
In this tough time, it is natural to experience unpleasant moments.
This tale helps us appreciate that these moments can also play a meaningful role. If only…