I have mental bumper stickers.
When I was the principal of the International School of Kabul in Afghanistan, I had a large file cabinet beside my desk. I pictured various sayings slapped on the side of this piece of furniture. I wouldn’t want visitors to my office to actually see the personal reminders that guided me each day, so they remained invisible. It would be embarrassing, I thought, if people knew my inner challenges.
But here is my accumulation of pithy self-talk over the years:
• Be Nice
• There is More Than One Way to Do Things Right
• When Possible, Say Yes
One of my bumper sticker slogans made the ABC list today, along with two other suggestions to live well:
J – Judge Judiciously
“Showing wisdom, good sense, or discretion, often with the underlying objective of avoiding trouble or waste” is my online Encarta Dictionary definition for judicious.
I wish I could say I have always acted in this manner when voicing opinions of others or others’ actions. Avoiding trouble sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
K – Keep Kommitments
Please allow my creative alliteration and spelling here to make this point.
The culture appears to expect, even value soft commitments. Whether concerning marriage vows or lunch dates or job responsibilities, if something better comes along, all bets go off.
Just send a text or email saying, “Not able to make it. Something came up, “or “I think we need to take a break,” (meaning, end the relationship). Better yet, just say you sent a message/text/email/ when you really didn’t and blame that ol’ cyberspace black hole.
How can we build confidence in our relationships or workplace with such easy pull-outs? We can’t. Insecurity and anxiety, among other symptoms, then replace trust and peace in daily life.
L – Listen Longer
The reason this directive hit my Top 5 chart is because I think at a fast pace and begin to problem solve immediately in my interactions with others.
Once a particularly pensive teacher on my team remarked, “You are giving me answers when I am not even sure what my question is yet.” Ouch.
We all need to give air space in conversations. Sometimes I don’t get a second chance to make an impression as a quality listener. I am working on it.