Monday, February 27, 2012
Taking the Starch Out
I was already dressed for work this morning when I started cleaning up my breakfast dishes. I did not roll up my sleeves so I got some water on my one of my sleeves. The starch immediately came out of that section of my shirt and until it is laundered and pressed again, it will not be the same. It’s not that big of a spot and no one else can really tell, so I decided not to change my shirt. But every time I look down at that spot, I am reminded that it really doesn’t take much to take the starch out of something but the effects can be lasting and permanent if not corrected.
I think we have the same power in our interactions with each other. Our words and actions can be damaging. We can say something or do something to someone (either directly or indirectly) that can take the starch right out of them. How quickly a person recovers from that has a lot to do with their level of self-esteem, self-awareness, and how much influence you have on them. Here are a few tips I came up with today.
1. Avoid ‘starch removers’ from the jump.
a. Think about what you are going to say or do before you say or do it. Think about how it will affect the receiver and decide before the beans are spilled whether it will have a positive effect on that person or if it is a potential starch remover.
b. If it takes 10 seconds to say or do something that can damage another person’s inspiration or energy, take 30 seconds before you say or do it and make sure it won’t potentially be damaging.
2. Be somebody’s biggest fan
a. If you focus on encouraging others and being supportive, it’s a lot tougher for those starch removers to slip out.
b. Spend your time thinking of ways to encourage – add starch to – others. The more positive you can pour into a person, there will be that much less room for starch removers to creep in.
3. What to do if one just slips out
a. If you have removed someone’s starch, don’t just blow it off and say that person needs to toughen up.
b. Take some time to understand what you said or did that caused the starch removal, apologize for it, drive on, and commit to not repeating it.
c. Provide some encouragement to that person and point out some of the great things they are doing. This will have the same effect as when as when I take my shirt back to the dry cleaners. It will be cleaned, pressed, and re-starched. Ready to take on a new day.
Someone is counting on you to encourage them and tell them they are awesome. Don’t let them down, do it today!