M & M’s: Motive and Method

People often ask me if they should say something to someone or make a particular life decision. My response to them is, “Why would you and how are you planning to?”

Motive (intent) is a key factor in determining the validity of any decision. “No one likes my sister-in-law and I’m going to tell her.” While I’m not opposed to addressing this issue, I question the reasons. Is it to hurt her feelings, put her in her place, make yourself look wonderful? Or is it to help her understand why her relationships aren’t working, thereby giving her the opportunity to improve them?

One must be totally honest with oneself. Too often we delude ourselves into believing our motives are honorable when in truth they are shady and deceptive.

Our voices are saying “I brought this to your attention because I care about you” while our hearts are secretly gloating over the hurt or shame being inflicted on the other party.

Assuming your reasons are pure, you must then consider your method (approach). How you choose to present information is equally important. I encourage a direct and honest approach. However, your choice of words and tone of voice must be carefully chosen. It is not ok to just blurt something out without taking into consideration how the other party might feel.

During college, I worked as an assistant manager of a small jewelry store. Our employees were all trained as diamond consultants. One day, a gentleman entered and inquired about a ring. I showed him our selection. A coworker promptly appeared and declared she was more qualified to assist him. I was mortified but quietly conceded. When I approached her later on, she innocently stated she was only trying to help. I was young but not naïve: she was jealous of my position and needed to put me in my place.

If she were truly concerned, she could have inquired as to how things were going and if we found what we were looking for. Then, if I needed assistance, I could have requested it.

Pay careful attention to motive and method before making every decision. Did you choose your career for the salary and prestige or because it’s your passion? Do you get ahead in life at the expense of others or bring them along with you? Are you losing weight so others will admire you or because you value your health? And method: diet pills, or sensible eating and exercising?

Be brutally honest with yourself. Review your M&M’s. Make the honorable choice.

The end result will reflect it.

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