Week 53: Vol. 53. Conduct Your People Audit

15 Jan

VOL. 53

"Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude."


-- Williams James


For the last few weeks, we have discussed the importance of the environment in helping you find more flow in your work, life, and play. We have discussed the value of finding the right place, engineering that space, and looking for simple yet strategic ways to remove common distractions. As we continue looking into the Immediate Environment (IE) it’s imperative to include the most important element of our environment: the people within it.

While some “Meaningful Life Arenas” do not include others (this is rarely the case) most of our environments include people that we either have direct or indirect relationships with. These relationships are often pivotal to our success.

Some studies suggest that as much as 70% of work satisfaction lies in the quality of your relationships. This is a profound statistic. It reminds us that our relationships, in whatever we do, have a direct impact on how we experience, relate, and influence our world. Through countless interviews and discussions, it has become clear that individuals who truly enjoy the people that surround them are much happier and possess greater synergy than those who do not like the people they are surrounded by.

Think for a moment about an important life arena that you would like to find more flow within. What are the people like? Do you typically enjoy being around them? Do they make a positive contribution to you? Do you make a positive contribution to them? Perhaps you are thinking: “I’m thinking about my work environment right now, and frankly, I don’t like everybody as much as I could or even should.” I say, good observation.

So what can you do about it? Perhaps see things a little differently. It is unrealistic to assume that you will like and enjoy everyone whom you work, serve, and play with. But maybe you could move the needle on your perceptions just a bit—enough to make even the most empty or meaningless relationships a little less empty and meaningless. There may be a case here to explore these relationships and look for something unique in each of them.

I’ve always been perplexed by the idea that each of us has a unique genetic code. I mean, do we really need 7,038,744,733 unique blueprints in the world (that number as of 3/5/2012; courtesy of geohive.com). Perhaps this understanding prompts us to take a step back and look for the unique value that each of us, even your colleagues, bring to the table.

Just maybe our ability to appreciate the uniqueness of people surrounding us will help us appreciate—even like them more? If you are not ready to remove yourself from your current environment or “clear the slate” of all current relationships, perhaps it’s worth a try.

Finding more flow with others often means finding, appreciating, and utilizing the unique personalities, skills, and experiences of others. So, this week, do a little investigating. Find out—even point out, the special qualities of those whom you interact with. Not only will it give you a greater appreciation of them, giving you an edge on how you feel about your current environment, but also you may find your relationships improving because of your willingness to “see differently.” Consider a few simple questions in this week’s exercise and decide what you can do to appreciate the people in your flow arenas.


  • Review the questions in: Seeing Others Uniquely exercise sheet
  • Consider the people you interact with in your various life arenas. Look for and point out something unique about each of them. Notice the impact of this practice.
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