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Have you ever said, “I am an idiot” or something else derogatory about yourself? I know I have. However, it is more appropriate that I note on occasion, I can act like an idiot.

Recently, I’ve had a few interactions that have not gone well. Conversations with people near and dear to me (the names have been changed to protect the innocent) unraveled and while I could see it happening, I didn’t stop it. The bad news is I only have myself to blame. The good news is, because I only have myself to blame, I can fix it.

As a Sandler Trainer I tell my clients, “People do what people do, because people do what people do”. This concept reinforces the idea that we can only control ourselves and our actions and should spend our energy and effort doing so, rather than trying to manipulate other into a desirable outcome. With the help of the Sandler Success Triangle, let me share with you what I should have done from the beginning.

Attitude is tenant number one in the triangle. Clear your mind of all the negative thoughts you’ve collected in your mental file cabinet. Those negative thoughts hold you back from viewing situations and people positively, and do not allow you to reset how you see things. In my situations I had to:

• Reset my need for approval; it was too high. I was guilty of looking to others to make me feel better about how I was being treated. Fail! I am the only one that can make me feel better.

• Reinforce the concept that it’s not about me. In each situation, I took what was said and what was done as a personal affront to me. It is bigheaded and ridiculous to think that the other individuals involved did what they did, said what they said, with the intent to hurt me. What was I thinking?

Thinking the issue through lead me to some insights related to tenant number two, Behavior. I am responsible to do what needs to be done to fix the issues. Here’s what I did:

• I determined what was really going on. I have been vulnerable to slight when I haven’t taken my medicine. I suffer from depression, and I have for decades. What I know about myself is this: if I don’t refill my prescriptions in a timely way, I am prone to overreact. That is exactly what I happened in these situations.

• I put on my calendar a monthly reminder to fill my prescriptions. I am a list maker and I work efficiently with a written plan. Things slip through the cracks when not added to my list. I cannot guarantee that I will remember to write down every important thing. Now I have a plan.

Mindset adjustments and planning are not enough. I need to incorporate the third and final tenant, Technique. I must practice the skills I have learned more frequently and more effectively. Here is what I’m working on:


• I’m paying more attention to people’s personality profile. My unsuccessful interactions were partly driven by my inattention to how the other party communicates, makes decisions, and processes information. It’s basic bonding and rapport, and I should know better than to overlook it.

• I’m working on becoming unemotionally invested in the outcome. I’m not saying I don’t care; I’m saying I shouldn’t care so much. I should be able to maintain a level emotional state so that I can see things as they really are, and not how I want them to be. Seeing the truth in situations should be my only goal.

If through this cautionary tale you were able to understand how the Sandler Success Triangle can help you improve your role in the complex world of human interaction, then I will be a happy man.

Until next time.

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