The Power Of The “Me” Filter

I’d like to share this brief extract from my second “Transforming Mind Matters” podcast with Social Media Angel Katie Brockhurst, where I shared a recent anecdote:

“I had a bit of an interesting week. I was lucky in that I had the opportunity to observe a board meeting  in preparation for some development work I am leading and as always when there’s someone new in the room, everyone was quite well behaved for a while.

However, there was a point where something really key was being discussed, it had an impact on everybody in the room, and the person doing the presenting was very passionate about what they were putting forward. In fact she was passionate to the point where her emotion deafened her ears. Rather than listening to how the rest of the group were struggling to apply some of the behavioural changes that needed to come into their teams, she just rode over them.

I could feel the steam coming out of her. Her intention was to get this behavioural change off the ground for all the right reasons, but rather than listen to where the rest of them were presenting open and honest challenges, and clearly they were pushing their edges and needed a bit of help, she heard them dismissing her!

I had the opportunity to speak to her a couple of days later and I said, “What happened when so-and-so said this? How did you feel?” and she said, “No, they didn’t say that.”  I had made notes, and I said, “Let me tell you what was said, verbatim.” I read out the statement and she replied, “I didn’t hear that.”

So I asked, “What would have happened if you’d heard that?”  She was full of compassion for the person who had asked the question, who is is insecure with the change and in his own way was desperately asking for help.

So I asked her, “What was it that deafened her?” 

“They don’t respect me and they don’t care,” was her heartfelt belief.

This belief was so strong the focus of something that was powerful for this business became all about her. Not for negative reasons – no one was trying to do anything horrible, and her intention was to unify, but it created more mistrust and division than I’ve seen for a while.

And it kind of made me think about this “me” stuff.  We get blinded when we can’t see the other perspective. It’s tough. And often we don’t know that we’re doing it – it’s unconscious bias or prejudice.

But if we’re really going to see things how they really are then we need to look in a different direction.

I’ve done an exercise in communication workshops I’ve been doing in the design industry where I ask the participants to give me four words that tell me what kind of people they are. They might say: 

“I am untidy.”

“I am late for meetings.”

Get them talking about those kind of phrases and underneath is the belief that they are not good at their jobs – they are unemployable.

That’s very dramatic, judgemental thinking going on about them.

And what does “late” actually mean? Fifteen minutes after the meeting has started? Arriving less than  five minutes before it does start?

So my thinking is determining who I can work with – not objective measures like my skill and competence.

So what can we do?

If we have some compassion for us – compassion starts at home, within our minds – as opposed to taking our judgments  and giving the thoughts and words power –  if we become compassionate and curious about our reaction, our influencing thoughts become powerless. 

All of the really horrid stuff that is going on at the moment is all about us.  If we let it go, I wonder what would happen in the world? I wonder what amazing things we would find, develop, cure, and resolve. As it soon stops being all about us then we start to get some real perspective on the world then suddenly the world’s easier.”

To hear the full podcast – and to hear Sue and Katie discuss in depth how social media is being hamstrung by our “it’s all about me” vision, and is also potentially a world changing tool, visit the links below: