Do you have a “pain in the neck” in your life?
Is that “pain in the neck” person one of your better friends? If so, it may be hard to justify firing them as your friend!
Instead, let’s look at another strategy that can help them become one of your best assets.
Last time, I talked about the idea that you might be renting too much space in your mind to a grievance related to that “pain in the neck”.
Before I share the strategy, let’s take a look at a core success principle that applies to all areas of your business and life. What you focus on and give your attention to increases in intensity, importance and size. When you spend your time and energy thinking about how frustrating that person is all you can see is how frustrating they are! Even though you might acknowledge or even share with others that they have qualities you really appreciate, you come right back with a “but they … (fill in the blank with what frustrates you)”. In effect, you blind yourself to their positive aspects.
I wonder what your relationship with that person might be if you spent even half as much time focusing on what they do well and what is good about them as you have been focusing on what frustrates you. The next time you are frustrated, STOP that thought! Stop yourself and make yourself pick one thing that is good and effective about them. Then, focus on that one good thing for at least 1 minute.
Every person flourishes under the gaze of appreciation – like a flower that blossoms in the sunshine.
Now, first, use self discipline to make yourself actually do what I’m suggesting. I can almost hear the protests that you do notice what they do well. I can tell you that if you consider them to be a pain in your neck, you are obviously focused more on the negatives than on the positives. Also, it takes self discipline to stop your thoughts and pick a new thought to focus on. Complaining about them is a habit that you must change if you want a better relationship with them.
The new approach I want you to use is a two-pronged one. First, you must STOP any negative thoughts about them immediately and permanently! Be strict with yourself – stop your thoughts, stop complaining out loud, and stop telling the story. Second, you must focus on what they do well. You must begin to think and express gratitude for what they do well. Since you still have them on your friends list, there must be some reason – something that you value about them. So, even if you have to create a mantra that you repeat over and over about just one thing you can appreciate, you must do that. From now on, the only thoughts and words you are allowed to have about them is something positive or appreciative.
This approach can bring about a change in your relationship overnight or it might take some time. It all depends on your willingness and your discipline. It has little to do with them; it has everything to do with you. Remember the quote from the last article?
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
Certainly, if the person is destructive to you, you are going to have to deal with that as it happens. However, you still must avoid harping on it. Set consequences and then go back to appreciation in your thoughts and words. If you have trouble saying appreciation out loud about them, then at least stay silent until you can. Focus on your appreciative thoughts internally until you have built up enough positive energy to say something out loud that is appreciative. When I talk about speaking appreciation, it may be when you are talking to your spouse or your friends, instead of directly spoken to the person. In time, though, you do want to get your attitude switched around so that you can speak your appreciation to them. Take some time to read the Suggested Resource (see below) to better understand how and why this is important.
Shine the light of appreciation on someone and watch them come to life!
Spend 30 minutes each week writing down at least one thing about each friend/family that you appreciate. This strategy is important so that you begin to change your inner thoughts and movies about your friends.
Once you’ve mastered an inner attitude of gratitude about each person, you can take the advanced mastery step which is to share your gratitude with each person. Take time each week to write each person a quick note about something specific you appreciate. This only needs to be a short phrase or sentence.
Then, sit back and watch the magic happen!
Check out the strategies in this “oldie, but goodie” book in my Amazon store or your local library. To help you with what I’m suggesting, focus on the “One Minute Praising” and the “One Minute Reprimand”. It is a short book with a powerful management message. It was a New York bestseller for quite some time when it was originally released. Even though it’s about business, most relationships would be more effective and productive using these strategies.
The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard, Ph.D. and Spencer Johnson, M.D.