Look at Me Look at Me (WT518)

Look at Me Look at Me (WT518)


WT518 Look at Me Look at Me

Most days Ross and I enjoy a walk together, usually in the morning or middle of the day. Today was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and although the temperature was only 13 degrees Celsius, we felt warm with the heat of the sun. 

We came upon a bridge over the Lachlan River in New Norfolk, Tasmania. The bridge was just wide enough for two people to walk side by side. As we neared the bridge we saw a young man walking towards us. He was a large man. In fact, he took up most of the width of the bridge, leaving no room to pass. 

We waited politely for him to cross. Both Ross and I looked up and smiled at him. He stared at the sky to avoid eye contact as he walked past us.  

I find this sort of behavior both intriguing and annoying. I say annoying because I was brought up to “Be Sociable”; to always acknowledge people and smile and say “Hello”. For someone to walk past me without acknowledging me goes against my value set. I also find it intriguing for the same reason. Obviously, people have a different set of values and of course, they are entitled to do whatever they want. There is no law that says you must look at me and smile when you walk past me. 

So why am I sharing this story with you? It’s an opportunity to talk about Values and Values Collisions. A Values Collision occurs when we perceive someone’s behavior as unacceptable to us, yet there is no tangible concrete effect on us as a result of the behavior. Here’s another example: Let’s say you smoke cigarettes and I don’t. It’s your right to choose to smoke. I can’t force you to stop simply because I don’t like it and unless we are near each other, there is no tangible concrete effect on me. 

The next logical question then, is “How do you resolve a Values Collision”? 

Using the above smoking example, I’ll show you a couple of options: 

  1. I can change my value to be the same as yours. I might start smoking. 
  1. I can ask you to not smoke around me, whilst still respecting your decision to smoke. We call that “influencing the other’s behavior”. 
  1. I can attempt to influence your value by “modelling” the values I’d like you to adopt (ie not smoking) or “consulting” to you. I can provide you with information to see if that might influence you to change your value. 
  1. Finally, if we are not able to satisfactorily resolve our values differences, then we might need to alter the relationship. 

Values Collisions occur all the time. They are part of life. They occur in the family, in the workplace, almost anywhere you have people. We are not wrong because we have a different set of values.  

Following on from today’s message, what Values are important to you and how will you choose to resolve any Values Collisions?

Focus On the Bigger Picture (WT430)

Focus On the Bigger Picture (WT430)


WT 430 Focus on the bigger picture

When I was studying to become a school teacher, I learnt one of the most impactful lessons of my life. 

It was during my practicum at a high school in a seaside community.  

Enthusiastic and passionate about learning and education and wanting to deliver the most fun and informative lessons to my students, I found myself preparing lessons and creating games well into the early hours of the morning before heading off to school to teach them. 

One particular class was scheduled to be tested and I was devastated with their results. 

“How could they not study? How could they not learn this?” I cried to my supervising teacher. “I put so much time and effort into making their revision lessons so much fun.” 

“Shirley, it’s not about you”, she said. “These kids have a different set of values to you. They don’t value education. They would rather surf and smoke pot.”

This was totally confronting for me. I experienced so many emotions. I wanted to give up. I wanted to scream at them. I resented them for not appreciating the effort I had gone to to make their lessons interesting. I was distressed for them that their future depended on them learning and none of this seemed to matter to them. 

“Shirley, if you are going to make it in this system, you have to accept that the kids you will be teaching will not all share the same values as you, and that despite that, you still need to show up and give your best effort”, counselled my wise and experienced supervising teacher. 

Sadly, I accepted her advice. She was right. I needed to focus on the bigger picture. I was there to teach and do the best job I could, to help as many as I could. 

It’s been 30 years since I learned that lesson and it still applies today.  

The people you are working with in your organisation may not share the same values as you. 

That doesn’t make them wrong and you right. It doesn’t mean that you have to convince them, rather, focus on the bigger picture.    

What outcome do you want to achieve? What is best for the organisation and your people? 

Focus on that.  

Invest your time, energy, passion and enthusiasm into achieving the end result. 

Focus on the bigger picture.

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