Archive for September 14th, 2010

Where are you headed?

I’ve done a bit of sailing over the last few years and I’m not very good at it. I know I’m not a natural sailor. But one thing I have realised is that when we see another vessel who’s going to cross our path, even though they may be miles away, we make sure that our boat makes a deliberate movement away from the other boat. We let the other boat know clearly what our intended course is so it can go its own way.

I’ve also noticed this in high streets with lots of people milling around. It’s actually quite difficult to change direction quickly particularly if you’ve got up a head of steam or if you’re pushing a pram and someone steps into your path. For smooth running we need to signal to people what we’re going to do. People need to know which way you’re going – what your intentions are.

And, of course, this isn’t just about the high seas or the high street. It’s about our businesses and our lives.

So I’m thinking about Empathy Styles – how does this work for the different styles? Politicians have no problem with this – they’ve made up their minds, set their course and off they go – and, by the way, they won’t be giving way! Normals are also good at direction setting though they’ll be more likely to change direction if it isn’t working, logically. Hustlers will take the route that best suits their purpose, and will be on the lookout for opportunities and bargains along the way. So if you’re shopping with one expect a sudden change of direction when a shiny new something is spotted in a window over there.

Movers are interesting – I don’t think direction and purpose are words that Movers really understand. They’re more interested in energy, relationships, fun and movement, no matter which direction it’s in – “let’s get going, now” might be their motto. Double-Checkers could take a leaf out of the Mover’s book and get going, even though, sometimes it’ll be in the wrong direction! After all if you want to turn a bus around it’s much less effort to get it started and then drive it around to face the other way, rather than picking it up and manhandling it.

That leaves us with Engineers and Artists. The Engineer will get going, once they’ve done the planning and the research. They may not be the quickest, but they will arrive – remember the tortoise and the hare – and the finished project will actually work! And finally, the Artist. The Artist can be a bit of a dreamer – “I’d love to write a book” or learn a musical instrument or paint. How many of us have heard that from our friends, family or even ourselves? And how difficult it can be to get started. Why? Maybe because it has to be perfect in their mind and it won’t be perfect because they can’t do it. Try arguing them out of that one! (I’ve just started to learn the alto sax after a lifetime of wanting to do it – it’s great and why didn’t I do it 20 or 30 years ago??)

So, whatever your Empathy Style is, my invitation is to make up your mind, set your direction, let others know quite clearly where you’re going, and then get going. And if your intentions are strong enough, just watch people move out of your way. In fact, notice how many people and the universe will help you to get to where you want to go.