Occasionally clients will tell me that some of the people in their lives frustrate them from time to time. They don’t like the way one of their staff does “this” or the way their boss handles “that” or the way a colleague “let’s this happen.”
Often these clients will ask me “how do I get them to change?”
The answer is a bit ironic.
First, it’s really hard, if not impossible to “get someone to change.”
Trying to change other people often results in frustration, anger, lines drawn in the sand and even bullying; and a lot more grief for both you and them.
The irony is that changing ourselves often results in changing other people.
Now before you start thinking “I’m not the one who needs to change!” – hear me out.
The one consistency when someone’s behaviour frustrates you, angers you, demotivates you, embarrasses you or diminishes you is… YOU. Their behaviour may be the cause, but how you respond is what is affecting YOU.
Our coaching clients often discover that they can change themselves – that is, they can change how they react to others. By first becoming aware of how we are reacting; and consciously adjusting that reaction, we often find the frustration/anger/resentment begin to disappear.
The amazing and ironic result – our clients often report back not only that they are feeling better and less burdened by others’ behaviours BUT the other person’s behaviours toward them have begun to change!
Now you might be thinking “Patrick, you told us we can’t change other people, now you say we can!” Well in fact, both are true. We changed ourselves and because of our new approach the other person has (consciously…or not) changed how they relate with us.
Think for a moment about whether there is someone in your life you would like to change. Now think about how they make you feel. How would you rather feel? What can you do, yourself, to feel that way? What’s stopping you?
Try it out, let me know how it works for you. If you’re willing to share — please leave a comment below.