I started thinking about this blog topic because I read an article about a famous American who thought he was open to negotiation and compromise. Was he? I’m not sure. But apparently, he thought so.

Stephen Covey said that “We judge ourselves by our intentions …”  however, others don’t know anything about our intentions. They can’t read our minds. All they can observe are our actions.

So, the question is … are our actions consistent with our intentions?

Intentions are indicators of our motivation and represent the attitude behind our actions.

I think of it this way – it’s what we see when we look in the mirror.

But what do others see when they watch us?

You can have the purest motives in the world, but if your actions aren’t communicated clearly, or they aren’t consistent with your actions, then things will be easily be misunderstood by others. And troubled waters will lie ahead.

So, if you are really ready to look for middle ground and compromise … how do you express that to others?

  • Accept a basic truth. You DON’T know everything. It’s pretty freeing to understand this fact and it will help you to reach out for the wisdom of others.
  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Thanks to Stephen Covey again for this gem. It means don’t try to get your point across first. Open your ears and REALLY listen to others first … to understand them, not merely hear their words.
  • Adopt a ‘win-win’ philosophy – Now granted, this is an overused term, but at it’s core, it means that the best solutions are mutually beneficial and not about winner take all.

I hope that these three simple tips are helpful and I encourage you to reflect on your own behavior this coming week – do your actions demonstrate your intentions?


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