Have you ever lent a friend money when they were desperate? My friend was pretty desperate, and had asked before, but this time it was serious. I explained our situation, the conditions under which we’d lend and so forth. But after agreeing… I found myself judging their choices fairly strongly. I just didn’t agree with them.
Then a few days later a client of mine came to complain about some choices I had made. They were upset, and disagreed strongly with my choices. Laying aside the right and wrong of each situation for a minute (the he said/she said debate)… Something about each of these situations struck me as familiar, (apart from the sinking feeling, and the knotted stomach).
I came to realise – first by delivering judgement, and then secondly by receiving it from someone else – that each person’s perception of a situation, and therefore their judgement of it, can be profoundly different. In the first place I was sure my friends’ choices were wrong, I judged them, and said it was poor form. That was probably very unfair. I really needed to step aside from the moment and say, “my choice relates to lending or not… his choice relates to spending or not.” In the second place I experienced the uncomfortable feelings of being judged. Again I needed to separate the clients assessment and anger, from my own choices and defensiveness. Again I could step aside and say “my choice is how I spend my time, my client’s choice is what to do with that”. I choose the cause, she chooses the consequence.
In each case I was becoming more mindful, that is I was stepping aside and observing independently. I was being less judgmental, and less susceptible to being judged. I was able to think clearly and less emotionally about a situation. Now, months later, as the consequences roll on (the friend stills owes me money and the client is still upset) I have experienced freedom all this time. My emotional and mental resources have not been consumed with thinking about these situations. I am not anxious – whilst at the same time I am not ignoring the situations. I still want the money, and I still want to deliver the goods for my client.
Image copyright David Holzhausen
Robert is an expert in the science of human behaviour and performance enhancement with a passion for neurology, leadership and the psychology of potential. He believes it is important to bring hard science to coaching, and that coaching practices be evidence based and research backed. Robert is a founding partner at Frazer, Holmes Coaching and current Director of Brand and Marketing for the International Coach Federation Australasia (ICFA). Robert is a professionally certified coach (PCC) with over 20 years of business experience and an ICF Accredited Mentor Coach. He is an Associate at the National Speaker's Association, a member of the Coaching Psychology interest group at the APS, a certified Action Learning Coach, a Member of the Australian Institute of Management Consultants.