I woke this morning with the word “RESPECT” running through my mind. I realized that getting respect and being respected is a huge priority in my life. I also believe others feel being respected is necessary in theirs. I choose to write this article to provide an opportunity to bring awareness to unconscious actions we may have – to spark a change that will eliminate frustration and create more happiness in our lives and in the lives of others.
Let’s look at some ways we may be disrespected and you can see that I may be on to something here…
Let’s look at our family. Do your family members respect you? Do they arrive on time* to dinner or show up when they promise to be there (or do you wait frustrated for them to show up or call)? Do they jump to conclusions without giving you the benefit of the doubt in a situation? Do they speak with you the way you would like to be spoken to (and vice versa)? Do they leave things on the floor or not clean up after themselves? The clean up part — we can excuse this behavior as “lazy”, but I believe it really is a respect thing, especially if there was communication to explain expectations. Did you ever stop to think WHO has to clean up behind us when we don’t do it ourselves? (This is valid inside and outside of our homes in public places like parks, restaurants, parking lots, public restrooms, etc.).
Let’s look at work. We spend the majority of our day at work. Feeling satisfaction and appreciation are most important in the workplace. These feelings can be synonymous with feelings of respect. Do you feel taken advantage of or not recognized for your knowledge or abilities? I think this is all connected… we are emotional beings, after all. I believe being recognized for your accomplishments and feeling good about being in your workplace are major parts of having job satisfaction. This could also include fair pay for your service. Knowing there may be economic hardships in today’s workplace, I know of situations, and have personally experienced, where staff “goes to bat” and actually takes cuts in pay to keep an organization together. The basis for such an event would have to come from a feeling of respect and satisfaction – or else, truly, they’d “bail out” instead of staying during a turbulent time.
One thing that is, perhaps, my biggest pet peeve is people who don’t return calls or follow-up as they said. This is a huge phenomenon in business – there seems to be a “game” that people play that all parties may not agree to prior to the beginning of a relationship. Any sales person can understand what I’m talking about. Personally, I always go out of my way for others. I drop anything at hand to help out, and I always see the big picture, perhaps sometimes bigger than the person who I’m meeting with can see. There’s so much potential in everything that we do – every project we start, every vision we have, every book we write, every story we share. I see the end, the possibilities, perhaps to a flaw. I see the dreams people have and what they can offer to another, and I want to make their dreams happen.
I can give tons of examples where a person will call in distress. Jim (my husband) and I will usually drop everything to accommodate a meeting, always coming armed with research and suggestions. How many times have you gone on a sales call or attended to a customer or a client, work really hard to accommodate their needs, and they don’t return calls back? They’ve apparently fallen off the face of the earth. My sister, who has been in sales for her whole career, says this is the story of her life. She works really hard for a prospect, gets them all the info they need, and never hears from them again despite fruitless attempts for follow-up.
Or, how about when you go on a date –
Why do we have to “hurry up and wait” and guess what the other person’s thinking or doing. We eventually get the message that they’re not interested in a work or personal relationship; but, OUT OF RESPECT, a quick call or follow-up email should be made. I do my best to do this. I, personally, know how bad one feels waiting for a call that may never come. There are terms to support this, for example, “poker face”, or “games people play”. I just believe, in consideration of the feelings of another, these games are unnecessary and create significant hard feelings and tremendous frustration in the one waiting. Sometimes people are on timetables or have things they need to accomplish and they are really waiting on that phone call or email. I believe respect and consideration for another go a long way.
AND… here’s another one. Did someone say they were going to do something and then not do it? Respect comes into play with this, too. No one likes to wait for something that a person promises that never materializes.
This is something that causes hard feelings and frustration that is super easy to eliminate.
I know that sometimes people may “bite off more than they can chew” and become inundated with responsibilities to a point where they cannot physically accomplish what they said they would do. In that case, just a quick phone call or email to follow up to the other person who is waiting for the “something” would be most welcome. I NEVER promise someone something and do not follow-up. NEVER. That is a super priority of mine; one of integrity and conscious. You need me, I’m there. I’ll go out of my way to support another and their endeavors. Think of yourself, think of your actions, think of the actions of others. If we all consider and respect another, this world would be such a less frustrating place.
I can recall countless situations where I felt I was slighted in my past, and I know I took these actions personally and wound up with terribly hurt feelings. Still, to this day, I wait for people who say they are going to do something and the “something” may not ever materialize. The most important recent growth factor I can acknowledge in myself is that now something may bother me – when it happens – and then I will realize it and, within a few minutes, re-rationalize it and let it go. I work on this every day and am far from perfect. I try not to take things personally and rationalize that it’s not necessarily an intentional situation of disrespect purposefully done TO me, but perhaps unintentional on the behalf of the other party. They may not even realize they did something to hurt my feelings or hold back a project I’m working on.
My goal, every day, is and always has been, to take into consideration how other people feel. To know what my actions will do to them, to realize what I should do or how I should approach something to make someone feel good about themselves. Am I perfect? Absolutely not; but my intentions are true and I do my best to be aware of how my actions affect others.
I believe respect and consideration go a long way to make amazing relationships… personal and business. Acting without respect and consideration causes significant hard feelings and conflict. I believe it may be, truly, one of the largest priorities that should be considered prior to our actions throughout the day. Perhaps we can try to preface our thoughts or actions with questions like, “If I do ________, then _________ will happen”, “If I do ________ then that will make this person will feel like ________”, “If I do __________ that will make someone feel good”, “I will be taking advantage of _________ if I do _________”.
No one likes being taken advantage of or feeling badly. Our actions can easily cause that to happen. If we’re aware of the ramifications of our actions, we can totally change the course of the day, week, or life of another.
*A quick disclaimer to all my family who read this: I’m always running a little late. It’s not a respect thing or done in any way maliciously, but caused by continuously trying to fit 25 hours into a 24 hour day. It’s something I’m aware of and working on, which is a step towards change. Hey – I’ve got lots of things I want to do!
# # #
Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of Time to Play: www.TimetoPlay.com = Resources for a Better Life. It’s Time to Enjoy YOUR Life!