Think of a time and person who made you angry, frustrated you, or offended your values. Now, imagine someone who is easy for you to work with. Why difficult? Why easy?

Draw a T chart on a slip of paper and right down two or three bullets about “what kind of person” he or she is.You can also download the Co-Creator Database to capture your thinking on the 5 Questions.

Notice the term “co-creator.” I use that word intentionally to give remind myself that the people I am trying to understand are important to creating the outcome I desire. They are not people to or “pre-sell” or “get around.”  Their engagement is essential to creating the result.

Now, take a look at your two people. Often, the people who are hardest to influence are those who are fundamentally different. For those very different people, you would think we’d be very curious about those differences. But, actually, most often we either gloss over with a general description. Or, worst of all, our brain clicks off. We get trapped in our own emotional reaction to a stark difference.

And, if the next person we talk to agrees with us, we are validated and even less likely to dispassionately consider the differences.

The Mantra for Curious Attention

When you get stuck on a person, try to step back and run through the following mantra.

“If I were…born to the same family, went to the same schools, had the same DNA, IQ, childhood experiences, interests, etc….you would be the same way s/he is.”

Not an excuse, but a huge opportunity to step back and get your thinking cap on to advance your own intention.

If you’ve worked with me, you’ve heard the phrase People Are Funny (if you haven’t, you can follow the link). So, this may seem like old stuff. But, take some time this week to observe how expert you are about accepting the way people are and turning your engagement into a search for undreastanding, ideas, and insight.

P.S. I teach this concept and I notice my imperfection everyday. Noticing that fact is the first step to redirecting my attention.