One day I was in a restaurant with a friend and we were talking about relationships. She was telling me about how hard she can be with her husband sometimes. Being the curious type, I asked her for some examples and asked her why she was acting this way with him.
Her answer was interesting. It sounded something like: “This is the way I am so he needs to learn to deal with it”. I then asked her if he did the exact same thing to her would she accept the same action and answer from him. Her answer this time was to blush and slowly turn her eyes away with an uncomfortable smile.
This article will explore the idea of your way of being and why you should become more aware of it.
What is your way of being?
I struggled with this question for the longest time. The best answer I came up with is that your way of being is how you interact with the world around you. Among other things, it gets shaped by your life experiences, core beliefs and your way of seeing the world.
You may not be aware of our way of being but it is definitely there and it has an impact in your daily life.
The first challenge that I have for you is that you begin to take notice of your way of being. To do this, try this simple exercise. Over a week or two, take a moment in the evening to reflect on your day. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What were some of the things I spoke about the most today? How did I feel about them? How did I talk about them?
- What were some of the things I thought about the most today How did I feel about them? How did it impact my day?
- What would the people around me tell me about my behavior today?
These are very basic questions but the idea is to build some self-awareness. After a week, what are some of the patterns you can see in the answers to these questions? What does it tell you about your way of being?
How do you change your way of being?
This is an interesting question because you may see some of this as black and white. I do this behavior and this is good — but THIS behavior of mine is bad.
The point is not to keep score or make drastic changes. Trying to change “bad” behavior without understanding why it happens is not useful. It will come out in different ways instead. Think of water leaking out of a barrel, plug a hole and you may discover a new hole leaking right next to it.
Changing your way of being means learning new habits until they become your new default ones. You do this by practicing new behaviors over and over in safe spaces. At first, it can be uncomfortable but the more you practice, the easier it will become.
If you are an introvert that keeps to yourself at work, here is an exercise you can try. Every morning for a week, when you get to work, say hello to at least 5-10 people with a big smile and a handshake. After a week, what can you notice that in your relationship with these people? What can you notice that is different within yourself? What was different between the first and last day doing it?
So tell me, what are you aware about in your way of being? How different could your relationship be if you practiced new behaviors?
Steffan Surdek is an in-demand leadership development coach and corporate trainer. He has always been driven to expand the notion of leadership to include each member of the team. As a widely recognized principal consultant, Steffan’s work has a strong business impact, helping reshape business cultures and guiding them in becoming more collaborative and efficient. He is the founder of Pyxis Cultures, a consulting and training company based in Montreal, Canada.