We have choice and we tell the truth. That has pretty much been my mantra over the past few years, ever since I attended a Will Schutz workshop called ‘The Human Element’ back in the UK in 2007.
Schutz, an American Psychologist, was a real maverick who believed that if someone is to realise their full potential they need to work on the development of healthier self-concepts, self-determination, and openness. He died in 2002 and his son Ethan now continues his work on the Human Element on a global scale.
A core belief of Schutz’s work is that everything that happens between people is a result of the choices each person has made – both consciously and unconsciously. Each of us is 100% responsible for ourselves and our situation and no one else is to blame.
Another belief is that secrets are poison. The more an individual, a team or an organisation tells the whole truth, the healthier and more productive they are. People are better able to handle the truth than they are given credit for. Truth can free us up from all that rubbish that gets in the way of how we operate together. It’s not about disclosing our deepest and darkest secrets, it’s quite simply about being authentic with each other.
Relationships make our world go around (and around and around). Our relationships with our family, friends, work colleagues, suppliers, business partners, bosses and the call centre operator all significantly affect our happiness and effectiveness. We have choices about whether we want that relationship to be different, how we want to interact, how much truth we want to share and how we want to share it.
It irks me when people say “I’m going out tonight with a friend who is so negative, I am dreading it”. Or “I’m not going to tell my boss about my problem with her, she never listens, I’ll just deal with it”. Or “My colleague is really annoying me in the office, I don’t know how much more I can take”.
Why? We have choices, we are responsible and no-one else is to blame. So tell the truth, share with someone how you feeling, ask them in return, give your perspective. You know what? Like I said earlier, people are better able to handle the truth than they are given credit for. Try it, usually the relationship is so much deeper and richer for both parties. It might be a quick result, it might take some time, but you have lost nothing and gained so much.
The New Year is about New Beginnings. One of the OPRA values is that we value long-term relationships that are built on open communication, trust and mutual respect. So why not have a think and start with one relationship that you’d like to make even better this year, wherever it might exist in your life.
Happy New Year.