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Thoughts From Our Director

Be Curious

Earlier this week, I listened to my friend, Anna Maravelas, speak at the Conflict Savvy Leader event that EAC hosted in partnership with Davenport University’s, Institute for Professional Excellence (IPEx). One of the concepts that Anna talks about is how we respond to frustrations.

In his work, Charles Stroble, MD, talks about the fact that we all face 30 frustrations a day. He calls them “heart hassles”. When facing a frustration, we have a choice; we can either look for the reason (which means we have to be curious) or we can default by blaming others or blaming self. Blame does not get us anywhere. As a matter of fact, it can keep us stuck in the quagmire destructive conflict, the type of conflict where we focus on what’s wrong with the person instead of trying to solve the problem. We go from talking to someone to talking about them.

Today you have a choice. When you face a frustration (and you will), seek to become curious instead of placing blame.

Here are some example situations:

  • The grocery store clerk isn’t friendly.  Instead, think, “She must be having a bad day.”
  • The barista doesn’t get your drink order just right. Instead, think, “He must have something on his mind; maybe he’s
    got a big exam today.”
  • Your co-worker borrows your stapler and doesn’t return it.  Your instinct might think, “That jerk! This always happens to me!”  Instead, think, “They are so slammed with that project, I bet they just forgot.”

Blaming and inflaming only hurts us, not the other person.

So for today (and tomorrow, and the next day after that) begin to be curious. You (and your colleagues) will be far better served. I’d love to hear what happens. Post your remarks here.

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