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Marketing, Art Direction, Project Management, my wife, my kids, my family, my friends, Tai Chi Chuan, Drumming, Art, Music, Education, my dog, my gecko, my fish

Perception Is Reality, Part 1

Jul 5th 2010 at 3:46 PM

As I go through this crazy life we live, I’m always reminded of some of the most rudimentary of lessons. When I was a drummer in the high school band, I remember that I always did my best after going back and practicing my rudiments. Life and business have rudiments too… lessons that are grounded in common sense, basic psychology, and even our religious beliefs.

Today’s lesson came to me last Friday. Without mentioning names to protect the innocent, let me paint a picture:
I attended a networking / social group for business people in Chicago’s Southland communities. This has been an ongoing group, rather small (and intended to be so), and very much committed to helping each other grow their respective businesses. The group meets once per month, and began in the early part of 2010. I arrived a bit late that morning because of some logistics regarding kid care, and walked in to meet the regular folks that attend. I noticed that one of the most prominent people wasn’t there. Because of this person’s absence, the meeting simply did not have much direction, and, quite frankly, was deemed a waste of everyone’s valuable time.

This person, who had invited the majority of the people in the past (mind you, he was not the host in that the location was not his, but was managed by a member of the group), decided to not come to the meeting that day, and decided to pursue a leisure activity taking lessons elsewhere. Needless to say, I was rather upset as this person is a close and personal friend of mine.

Troubled, I reached out to my friend over the phone, and asked why he wasn’t at the meeting. The answer was simply that this person was not nor ever was the “leader” or “moderator” of the group.

Accepting this answer, on his behalf and upon his request because he was going on holiday, I emailed the group explaining that he was not the leader, and I reminded everyone of the Four Agreements of the Toltec Indians as transcribed by Don Miguel Ruiz:
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
4. Always Do Your Best

In this email, I admitted to having forsaken the middle two agreements: I assumed that this person was the leader, and I took his absence personally.

However, upon reflection, I was also reminded of another important lesson I’ve learned through life, therapy, and coaching… “perception is reality”. I hope that you see where I’m going with this, but stay tuned for Part 2.

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