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I’ve recently been reading a book titled High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. Find it here. And I really do suggest checking it out — it’s full of actionable steps you can take to increase your life’s satisfaction, improve relationships, and find meaning.
I’m stealing a concept from Brendon’s book and sharing it with you today because I think it can breathe volumes of life and true connection into your daily interactions. The concept is simple: set intentions for how you want to treat people, and then act on them.
Sounds silly, right? Almost elementary. But here’s the thing — when we don’t consciously set intentions and think about our actions and words, we oftentimes don’t experience the interactions we were hoping for.
For example, when’s the last time you went into a meeting fully planning on being productive, sharing your ideas, and voicing your concerns in a calm and concise manner, only to walk out of that meeting thinking, “That didn’t go as planned,” or “Shoot, I totally came off wrong in there.”
Think about the last conversation that went south with your significant other. I’m sure you didn’t approach the situation thinking, “I’m going to come off rude, harsh, and closed-minded!” But sometimes it happens. And more often than not, if you don’t consciously plan otherwise, interactions won’t run smoothly.
Here’s how you can change that and start getting clear on who you want to be and how you want to interact with others.
Do this prior to every social interaction you have and I promise you’ll be amazed at the results. No, it doesn’t take long. Yes, I mean every interaction.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How can I be a good person or leader in this upcoming situation?
- What might the other person need?
- What kind of mood or tone do I want to set?
- How would my best self handle this situation?
- How can I best serve others in this upcoming interaction?
Once you’ve found clarity in those questions, choose 3 words you’d like to describe how you’ll act and speak toward the other people in this upcoming situation.
For example, let’s pretend I have an important meeting coming up. I might choose the words receptive, attentive, and dependable.
After choosing your words, sit for a few seconds and come up with a couple ways you could put those words into action. Using my previous example these might be:
- Make eye contact
- Ask for clarification to reiterate that you’re listening
- Don’t interrupt
- Write down questions as they pop up and save them for the end
- Create a list of “next steps” before leaving the meeting so you (and them) know you’ve got an action plan
- Follow through
This simple activity, used throughout your day, will make for more effective and authentic interactions. Intentionality breeds success. And one of the most important aspects of relationships is communication, so it makes sense we’d set intentions before communicating.
For other life tips, check out Brendon’s website.