All of our successes and failures in life can be traced back to relationships with specific individuals. These relationships create a ripple effect reaching beyond us to others with whom we interact. This is the basis for John Maxwell's book Winning with People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time. "Are we prepared for relationships?" is the first of five questions outlined in his book. Here are the five principles Maxwell uses to address our readiness factor when it comes to relationships.
The Lens Principle: Who We Are Determines How We See Others
- Several people sitting in the same room may all describe a situation differently. Our perception is influenced by who we are on the inside.
- It is possible to assess a lot about a person's personality just by watching how they speak and interact with others.
- "We all have a personal frame of reference that consists of our attitudes, assumptions, and expectations concerning ourselves, other people, and life." These factors determine our personality and "color not only how we see life, but also how we let people treat us."
- "Our thinking and our attitudes are as much a part of us as our talents and abilities. They also determine what we do."
5 Things That Determine Who We Are
- Genetics- We are born with a specific temperament.
- Self Image- How we see ourselves affects who we surround our self with and how we treat others.
- Experiences in Life- Our experiences prepare us for how we handle life both positive and negative.
- Attitude and Choices About Those Experiences- We control our world with our attitudes and the choices we make.
- Friends- The people you spend time with are the ones who shape who you are.
The Mirror Principle: The First Person We Must Examine is Ourselves
- Having a realistic picture of yourself and liking who you are is critical.
- We often are our own worst enemies and create our own problems.
- To make a positive change, start by changing yourself.
- "If you do not believe in yourself, you will sabotage relationships."
- "In most situations, I am the problem. My mentalities, my pictures, my expectations, form the biggest obstacles to my success." -Ralph Stayer.
The Pain Principle: Hurting People Hurt People and Are Easily Hurt By Them
- One in four Americans is imbalanced.
- When someone lashes out it is more about an internal conflict than the external circumstance.
- "Hurting people overreact, over exaggerate, and overprotect. They also over influence. By that, I mean they control the relationship."
Dealing With Hurting People
- Don't take it personally.
- Look beyond the person for the problem.
- Look beyond the situation.
- Do not add to their hurt.
- Help them find help.
The Hammer Principle: Never Use a Hammer to Swat a Fly Off Someone's Head
Respond, don't react!
Here are some tips on how to avoid overreacting.
- Total Picture- Slow down, ask questions, and take in the whole picture.
- Timing- Knowing when to speak or act is more important than what you do or say.
- Tone- Our tone of voice can change a situation.
- Temperature- Overreacting to a problem will generally make it worse. Responding coolly can help diffuse a problem.
Tips for developing a softer touch:
- Let the past stay in the past.
- Ask yourself, is my reaction part of the problem?
- Remember that actions are remembered long after words are forgotten.
- Never let the situation mean more than the relationship.
- Treat loved ones with unconditional love.
- Admit wrongs and ask for forgiveness.
The Elevator Principle: We Can Lift People Up or Take People Down in Our Relationships
"You hold the power to make another person's life better or worse by the things you do today." What kind of person are you?
- Do you add something to life making it more pleasant?
- Do you subtract something from life becoming a burden?
- Do you multiply something in life by intentionally, strategically, and skillfully adding value to others?
- Do you divide something in life by intentionally hurting others to make yourself look or feel better?
These are merely quotes and tidbits taken from each of John Maxwell's points. Each chapter is really fabulous, I encourage you to read the book! The next post from Winning with People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time will address the connection question: are we willing to focus on others?
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