Curiosity is respectful. Assuming is not. I learned this from a wonderful therapist long ago, and it was my lesson this week. When you don’t bother to find out about people who think differently from you, you can assume things about them, and you may miss what’s really important: what they have in common with you. So for those of us who are stressed out, let me quote from my 2006 book Bless Your Stress: It Means You’re Still Alive! written with the marvelous writer C. Leslie Charles.
“The one word that helps you with stress is perspective. It’s a rare quality these days. It’s hard maintaining perspective in a noisy, distracting world that’s busy knocking out 24/7 media reports, filled with celebrity gossip and news that isn’t really news.”
I’m feeling similar to how I felt after 9/11, so it’s time to reflect on my life, as I did then. From the book: “Give yourself the gift of ongoing reflection. Take time to read; time to think; time to expand your horizons. Give yourself time to explore; time to ask essential questions about life and living, such as:
Is this what I really want to be doing with my life?
Am I truly living in line with my priorities?
What is my mission in life – what is my purpose?
And how is it that TV car salesmen actually attract customers?
Robert Byrne said that the purpose of life is a life of purpose. I agree. If so much of life’s purpose really is about lightening up, letting go, and celebrating your existence, there’s no better time than now to make it happen. Embrace your purpose, live it to the best of your ability, and create your own happy ending. You’ll not only be a positive influence on everyone you come into contact with, but you can also become your own unlimited source of inspiration.”
So be curious. Take time to ask questions, and get to know clients you don’t think are anything like you. You may be surprised. We have more in common than we assume.