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Panda food, Distinctions and Relating

I’m fascinated with the concept of ‘distinctions’. As a coach, business owner and mom, I realize that the value of interpreting something with some mindfulness can bring forth clarity and often make all the difference between success or an alternative outcome.

Back in the middle 90’s I was involved in some transformational training work and was introduced to the distinction of Excellence vs. Perfection. At that time in my life, especially being a perfectionist in many areas, it took me a bit to wrap my head around what that even meant. In coaching certification school, and later working with my coach, I was exposed to even more areas that could use discernment.

Once I “got it”, I’ve been recognizing, using and teaching distinctions ever since. I find it valuable for clarity and focus. Without recognizing the difference in a scenario or interpretation of something, it could lead to confusion and no objective results.

How could you relate to your situation or another person differently if you had your own clarity first? Please read that question again. Here are some examples of distinctions you may find valuable for use in your life or current circumstance that may assist you in opening up a new possibility:

- Excellence/Perfection

- Nice idea/No kidding

- Solutions/Benefits

- Urgency/Desperation

- Management/Leadership

- Growth/Maintenance

- Feedback/Constructive Criticism

- Having a position/Taking a stand

- Blow off/Choose not to

- Stubborn/Clarity of Commitment

- That something happens/How something happens

- Counseling/Coaching

- Providing answers/Building competencies

- What’s wrong/What’s missing

- Inspire/Influence

- Values/Beliefs

- Beliefs/Behavior Patterns

- Networking/Alliances

Here is a living example of a distinction. My children have all heard multiple times that I want them to know they can depend on me, yet they eventually can’t be dependent upon me. For example, if one would call me with an emergency or urgency, they can ‘depend’ on me to drop or rearrange what I need to in order to be there or handle what I can. ‘Being dependent upon’ (depending on age and abilities) is another matter. Let’s take this one step further to define what is considered to be urgent.

“Urgent” typically also means something very different to me than it does to the rest of my family.  Each of my kids at one time or another has called me in a panic saying, “There’s nothing good to eat in the house” when it was snack time, which is always with teenagers. Yet a full refrigerator doesn’t mean that to me. The “no food” phone call is therefore not urgent doesn’t require action on my part.

This leads to another distinction. If a food in the kitchen appears to come from a live plant and may require cutting or peeling (vs. processed and/or microwaveable), my daughter calls it “panda food”. According to her, teenagers are not meant to eat like pandas and shouldn’t be subject to eating fresh foods, unless they are pre-cut and peeled. I’ll just stop that one here.

Interpretation of needs, wants and desires even in something which one might think simple can cause frustration or potentially a meltdown in a relationship.  How we interpret information may be very different than that of a prospect, friend, child, significant other. Even with the distinctions I’ve listed above, we each will make up or realize different meanings of ideas and words through our own “filters”, which are likely different than that of another.

In an effort to afford you more meaningful, less confusing or potentially less tense interactions with those that matter to you, how can you take some action on this information? What if you even took one of the distinction pairings above to start a dialog with someone you cared about? Or maybe even journaled for your own clarity? Be curious! What difference could that make in your relationship if you offered, “You matter to me. I want to understand you.”?

2009 is a year of relating. Being a ‘lone ranger’ will not get you far based on the way the commerce, personal, family, and service needs are evolving today’s climate. Interdependencies are critical and they don’t happen without some action. Make a point to reach out to someone you haven’t connected with lately - at least daily. It might even be someone living or working under the same roof where you spend the majority of your time. I will be writing in future posts about collaboration, alliances, relationship, etc. In the meantime, NOW would be the time for you to be the inspiration YOU ARE in the world!



Reader Comments (2)

Great site this cindyinspires.wordpress.com and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor :)

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenternonhonolite

Thank you. I hope you enjoy future posts! Cindy

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercindyinspires

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