If you routinely ask yourself, “Why does this always happen to me?”, that’s a clue that you might be part of your own problem. Often times we aren’t aware of patterns and habits that invite the very behavior that makes us nuts.
I was speaking with a friend about his client base this week. One of his challenges in his consulting business is that his clients are too often dissatisfied with one or another aspect of their working relationship with him. What he and I discussed was the way in which he approaches his clients, sets expectations and creates a vision of what he can do for them. Here’s what we noticed:
- He’s incredibly charismatic, so people are drawn to him and to the idea of what they might become when they work with him.
- He doesn’t like being bogged down in details, so he doesn’t spend much time in upfront detailed conversations that set clear expectations for all involved. Like how often they will communicate, what will be communicated, how an over-budget situation might happen and what the other party’s expectations are around budget and process – all of that “contracting” conversation that achieves agreement on how to proceed together.
- In his enthusiasm, he doesn’t set boundaries or provide a realistic and detailed description of how the project might unfold. He tends to paint a picture that does not include the landmines or issues that are normal with his type of work.
- His habit is to be this enthusiastic, get-it-done kind of person that people are drawn to, so he easily sells what he’s offering without the details and planning that needs to take place.
We agreed that taking time to debrief a situation would be helpful, understanding what worked, what didn’t work and what he would do differently the next time. Some customers may even be willing to provide honest feedback about their experiences.
We also identified some of the questions he can ask himself to identify a better system and better behaviors for proceeding with his clients. Here are a few that might be useful as you think about how your normal way (autopilot perhaps?) of being creates needless drama for you in your work and life:
- How do I naturally approach a situation or a problem? What is my perspective?
- What are common actions that I take?
- What results am I getting from those actions?
- Who can help me broaden how I am observing what’s going on and how I tend to behave or ways that I say things that get in my way?
- What is it that the other person needs to hear from me so we are on the same page?
If your life feels like one drama after another, slow down and take a look at how you might be contributing to what’s happening. Begin with your perspective on the situation, and ask yourself what other ways of doing/being are available to you to change the dynamic that you are in.