Practice Behavior Promoting What You Value Do you practice what you preach? Take the steps to match your behaviors with what you value. BY WINN CLAYBAUGH
When it's time to make tough decisions, think about what you value and run toward that deciion--don't bury your head.
“ It doesn’t matter whether you caused an argument or other family problem; if you see it, you own it and there is much you can do about it.”
As a speaker for more than 20 years, I typically spend more than 250 days a year on the road. In that time, I can honestly count on two fingers the number of seminars I’ve canceled. Last February, while finishing an event in Phoenix, I received word that my 83-year-old father had been rushed to the hospital. After hearing the words, "You’d better come now," I jumped on the first available flight and subsequently canceled an upcoming speaking tour. Fortunately, Dad was released from the hospital a few days later.
I knew I had made the right decision, but I still felt guilty about canceling the tour. Then I received a beautiful e-mail from one of the seminar hosts, who wrote, "After I saw you speak in Las Vegas last year, it really hit home about staying in close contact with our parents. I made it a point to call my dad as soon as I got home. We had a great conversation, and unfortunately that was the last time we spoke. He died suddenly the next week. Thank you, Winn, for all the messages you send that really make a difference to us all! We are sending that positive energy right back to you." That loving message was all I needed, and my guilt for canceling was gone.
Knowing that I had inspired someone to be a good daughter and that I, too, had chosen to be a good son just warmed my heart. It also reminded me of the importance of aligning my values with my behaviors. Because I value my family relationships, I canceled that tour to be at my father’s side. However, many people say they value something, but their behavior demonstrates the exact opposite. For example, they say they value family relationships but they work late, skip their children’s soccer games, forget their anniversaries and boycott family reunions.
Can you see how important it is to align your behaviors with your values? If you value nicer relationships, try incorporating the following behaviors:
1. Recognize and support the whole person. Were you taught to divide your life into separate areas, such as personal, physical, spiritual, and relationships? That never made much sense to me. What does make sense is to not divide your life—to take your entire, complex, beautiful self with you everywhere you go and create relationships that allow and encourage everyone else to do the same.
2. Build successful relationships. In all relationships, including your marriage, remember that human beings are attached to every task that must be performed. Your relationship with those human beings is far more important than getting the task accomplished. For example, in the process of doing household chores, you yell at this person, you blame that person, and at the end of the day the chores are done but your relationships with those family members are in shambles.
3. Go in asking. When a problem comes up, rather than assuming, judging or attacking, meet with the person privately and ask about the situation so you can discover the truth, resolve the situation, learn from the experience, and cultivate a better relationship.
4. Follow the 24-hour rule. If conflicts or problems arise, resolve them quickly. Don’t let them pile up to dump on the person at a later time.
5. Own it. It doesn’t matter whether you caused an argument or other family problem; if you see it, you own it and there is much you can do about it.
6. Catch people doing something right. Parents can easily fall into the trap of recognizing and punishing all the bad things their children do. To focus on the positives, try creating a "Caught Ya!" board. Imagine how a family’s dynamics could change if Mom and Dad came home from a hectic day, glanced at the family Caught Ya! board, and read, "Hey Matt: Thanks for sticking up for me in front of those kids at school today. You’re the best brother a girl could ever have!" Praise and recognition are basic human needs, right up there with oxygen.
By keeping your values and behaviors aligned, your self-confidence will soar, your nice factor will increase and your relationships will reap the rewards.
Winn Claybaugh is the author of Be Nice (Or Else!) and "one of the best motivational speakers in the country," according to CNN’s Larry King. A business owner for over 25 years with over 8,000 people in his organization, Winn is the co-owner of hair care giant Paul Mitchell’s school division. Winn has helped thousands of businesses build their brands and create successful working cultures. His clients include Southwest Airlines, the Irvine Company, Vidal Sassoon, Entertainment Tonight, Mattel, For Rent magazine, Structure/Limited/Express, and others. Winn is a frequent guest on national radio and a regular contributor to online publications. Visit www.BeNiceOrElse.com to sign up for his free monthly newsletter.