And it’s not because I like talking about myself.
Ok, full disclosure: I do. Not because I consider myself all that interesting, but I’m the only person about whom I have ALL the insider information – the good bits, the funny, the naughty, the learning curve and the mistakes made, and above all else: all the things I learned while spending 12 years in a monastery.
And there was a lot I learned, and they are things that can help you. That’s why I’m always bringing it up.
(Dissident voices have claimed I also do it because it’s a great way to break the ice at parties, but I’ve found that to be anecdotal. Which happens to be an anecdote I often tell when meeting people at parties).
Anyway, back to something more lessonful:
In an email convo with a reader last week, I used the words: “…when I was a monk…” and she replied asking me to write an article called about ‘when I was a monk’ – but I found myself unable.
Because that would be stuff about me, and my rule for writing these articles, is that “if it’s gotta be about me, it’s gotta be so that it’s useful for them”.
Or informative, entertaining, or triggering an insight, or whatever might help someone out there today.
So logically, just ‘about Martin’s former life’ wouldn’t work.
I chewed on it for a week and didn’t find a solution, but just now it hit me:
Make it about what you learned there, and how people can apply it, Martin. How could you have missed it?
At the moment I’m working out a few ideas in my mind for tomorrow’s article which will tell you exactly that, so stay tuned.
Meanwhile, here’s lesson #1, in the shape of this very email.
As in: if you want to get results with people, make it about them, and their interest.
You’ll get fastest results if you consider the other before yourself, by default, in every situation.
Whether you want readers, buyers, supporters, happy kids or
Just ask: “What’s going on there on the other side? What motivation for that thing I see, is there?”
That’s something I learned in the monastery.
If someone lashes out at you, ask what’s causing that, before you reply.
If a relationship isn’t working, ask yourself what the other might be afraid of, or protecting, by acting in that way that gets you so upset or that obstructs improvement.
If you’re going to tell a story to your audience or your buyer, and it’s about you, ask which lesson or benefit from that story would be best for that client at this time.
(Any professional wordsmiths or linguists here: sorry for that last sentence).
If you have a project and you need collaboration, ask yourself what would make the other parties want to actively engage.
You get the picture: it’s always about the other. And that was one of my biggest lessons in the monastery.
Also published on Medium.