How many times have you looked back on a conversation only to say to yourself in exasperation "They did not hear a word that I said." Fact is they pretty heard every word that you said. The problem is they listened through their filters.
We all do it. We perceive the world in our own unique way, shaped by the sum total of our life experiences. These experiences create the "lens" through which we view the world and the "filter" through which we hear it. These lens and filters are silently and diligently at work 24 hours a day, influencing us in every conceivable way, including our interactions with other people. The problem is that most of us do not realize it.
We tend to think that our world view is the result of an objective and filter-free thought process. We mutter to ourselves about the knuckleheads who seem to be on the wrong side of every issue. The "wrong side" of course, is determined to be whatever side we are not on . These filters are not hugely problematic, except in those rare cases where they lead us to some counter-productive ideological outpost on the fringe of society. But they can and do get in the way when it comes to implementing new behaviors as part of a self-improvement or development plan.
I have incorporated discussion of these filters as a foundation of my executive coaching practice. At the sunset of each coaching engagement, I explain to the individual that we will be working in two areas, ie to change "the 'you' you are, and the 'you' that others listen to you." After an initial quizzical look, they mostly get it.
Chances are that you are "listened" to be a certain way. People have been conditioned to expect certain behaviors from you. It is completely normal and predictable. The challenge arises when you decide to adopt and implement new behaviors as part of a development plan, behaviors that you want others in your constituent group to recognize and appreciate. But if they are unaware of your desire and effort to change, they will continue to "listen you" through their existing filters. The net result is that old behaviors are recognized, while new ones are systematically screened-out by the filters.
So what do you do about it? Simple. You change their filters. Tell them that you are interested and motivated to change. Better yet, enroll them in your change process. Ask them to provide feedback to you on the effectiveness of your change efforts. Of course you can not enroll everyone, so you must carefully choose the key influencers in your group. Your boss, for instance.
If you are not serious about the change, then by all means do not engage others, lest you look like a fraud. But if you are already interested in growing and developing, then you need to engage with others so that your efforts can be communicated through the filters.
Source by Matt Angello
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