When I was ten my baseball career went to heck. It was like someone threw a switch between my previously awesome self and my new terrible self.
I couldn’t hit. My throws were off. Neither I, my parents, nor my coach could figure out what the issue was.
Then I found out I needed glasses.
It was like a miracle to be able to see clearly again. When people ask me why I didn’t get glasses sooner I reply that at the time I thought everyone saw that way.
That’s a powerful message in more than one way, so I’ll say it again. I thought everyone saw the same way I did.
Before you assume something about a person, take a moment to reflect. Maybe you see things one way and just can’t understand why someone else doesn’t see as “clearly” as you.
Backgrounds, culture, and other factors can dramatically influence how someone behaves or responds to situations. Be conscious of that. You will be a better leader, employee, and friend for it.
This post isn’t here to make you feel like you’ve done something wrong. I need the reminder just as much as anyone else that we’re all different and that can be a powerful tool if we use it well.
Terrific message Ben. Concise, to the point, and powerful.
Hey, Jay! Thanks for the comment. You know, those qualities are the exact reasons I read your blog, too!
Ben – This story came up today in conversation with my manager. We were discussing how in HR you tend to forget sometimes that your perspectives and struggles aren’t the same as the employees you serve.
She loved this little parable. I’ll be incorporating into more of my trainings and presentations going forward.
Ben – – –
As others have said, excellent post — great metaphor, very well said. The most important lines might be the last two, though (about “this isn’t to make anyone feel bad … it’s a reminder for us all”). So true, and so important. HR so often comes off as holier-than-thou — which people are, of course, put off by. Your perspective that we (inclusive) all need reminders and encouragement is right on.
I think everyone in this world should learn how to be more emphatic towards other people. Sometimes we’re too self centered and forget about what other ppl are thinking. It’s a skill that needs to be learned at a young age.