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Can I get a little respect?
Friday Fun Fest
Hey boys and girls, it’s time to use our IMAGINATIONS! Can you say “im-a-jin-AH-shun?” WooHoo! Great job! Now let’s all put on our creative thinking caps...
Okay... without the corny “kid show” voice, it lacks a little something in the humor department, so let’s just get on with today’s goofy (but helpful and worthwhile) exercise I’ve got planned for you!
(I really do encourage you to set aside your pessimism and put yourself into this one. Remember, the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it!)
A long, long time ago...
STEP 1: Think of someone in history whom you’d really like to meet. Make it someone who’s no longer walking the earth but definitely someone you admire. We’re using our imaginations here, so if it’s someone who doesn’t speak the same language, just assume you are able to converse with the person fluently in his or her native tongue.
Take a minute if you need it. Do you have someone in mind? Good! Let’s move on to the next step.
STEP 2: Picture having a conversation with this person from the past and imagine what you’d talk about. What would you ask them? How would they reply? And most importantly, what would you tell them about yourself? DON’T move on to Step 3 until you’ve actually had this imaginary conversation in your head. (If this is too much for you to handle, I understand. You can go back to doom scrolling on Facebook.)
STEP 3: Grab a pen and paper (or a computer, if you prefer) and describe why you think this historic person would respect you. Remember, the only thing they have to go on is what you’ve just told them in your conversation and their own personal approach to people in general. So given what you shared with them, what would they respect about you and why? Or why do you think they might not actually respect you?
A few thoughts on respect:
Here’s an interesting thing about respect: It’s not an all-or-nothing concept.
Let me explain.
I believe everyone deserves a basic level of respect due to the mere fact they are human. Let’s consider that to be a “given” and set it aside for now. In other words, if I say I don’t respect anything about a person, I’m talking about everything else because I still believe they are worthy of basic human respect.
With that in mind... I can respect someone’s actions in a particular situation and have no other respect for them (other than basic human respect). I can have great respect for someone’s character and have no respect for a certain religious belief they hold. I can respect a decision someone makes in one area of their life and be absolutely appalled at other choices they’ve made. I could go on and on.
The point is it’s not a dichotomy. My choices are not (a) respect everything about a person, or (b) respect nothing about a person. Respect doesn’t work that way.
Let’s say I get upset because I believe others don’t respect me or my actions. What do I do? I blame them. They must be disrespectful, rotten people. But quite often, it’s not the other person’s fault... it’s mine, because I haven’t shown enough of myself for them to actually feel respect towards me or my actions!
Why it matters:
We tend to believe that proximity equals understanding, so we assume people we’re around all the time actually know us and our intentions much better than they probably do. But it’s hard to see that when you’re looking at people with whom you work, day in and day out.
That’s why this exercise can be so helpful! You’ve just had a conversation with someone from history who you admire and respect. THEY DON’T KNOW YOU... so what did you share with them that would earn their respect? If nothing, than why not? If you did share something worthy of an additional level of respect, what was it? And what can you do to make sure the people around you see it too?
Author John Maxwell said, “He who thinks he leads, but has no followers, is only taking a walk.” To be a Relaxed Leader, you need to give people something to respect beyond the basic level. If not, then why would anyone follow you? It’s fine if you’re just taking a walk but it’s not much help when you’re trying to change the world for the better!