I met a woman in her twenties the other day at a group event and offered her some ideas related to her new business. She was really excited to get my view on things and eager to take advantage of it. When I say excited, I mean I could see her body language was energized, she expressed genuine thanks and what’s next kind of talking and I could feel a ramping up in her forward momentum and flow in her overall energy.
Have you ever felt natural excitement when someone shared a new perspective that opened doors for you? I know I have. I really feel grateful and can’t wait to get started moving forward when someone offers me a useful new way to see things related to engaging in what I love.
A key to that kind of exchange is that what is offered is a different way to look at things, not advice. I didn’t really tell her what I thought she should do. Instead, I simply offered new ways to look at what she was already doing. She intuitively knows what she wants and that new viewpoint gives her new choices in how to engage in it. Isn’t that what we all want – new perspectives that offer exciting ways to engage in what resonates with us.
I read a recent article on the CNN.com website called, World to America: We want soft, not hard power (http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/09/world-to-america-we-want-soft-not-hard-power/?hpt=hp_bn2). I think that’s kind of what the article was talking about. It seems to me that the World appreciates new perspectives and ideas from America, what the article calls, soft power. They want new perspectives not commandments (hard power). And not just from America, but from other Nations, cultures, educational institutions and from their own neighbor next door. And, to take it to the extreme that is what we would want if and when an alien shows up from outer space. Those aliens from space would be welcomed if they brought us new perspectives and ways to engage in what naturally resonates with us – not commandments on what we should engage in or how we should do that.
I find everyday that sharing my perspectives freely with others is almost always appreciated whether they choose to act on them or not. Sharing my un-asked for advice, on the other hand, is almost universally not appreciated. In fact, people tend to consider it insulting – as if I think that they don’t know what’s best for them so I have to fix them.
People naturally know what they want and they don’t need me to tell them what that is or how to engage in it. That woman really appreciated my help when I offered her some new ways to look at things. I don’t think she would have appreciated it if I told here which new perspective was the “right” way to look at things. That would be insulting and limiting for her, not expansive.
Most everyone seems to appreciate a little help over here in the form of freely shared ideas. You have a unique perspective and you might think of that as your “soft power” a power that most people are grateful for when you share it with them. Hard power, not so much appreciated.
That’s just my perspective and I thought I might share it with you today. Have a good one.
As always, post a comment and feel free to ask any questions.