The Friday News Minute!

A weekly gem of information you will be using on Monday!

Published by Andrew Sanderbeck

Managing Partner of The People~Connect Institute

My schedule allowed me to be at home this week. I played racquetball twice and met a few people that invited me to join them on a regular basis. When I really thought about it, I concluded that it had been 10 years since I had been a regular player. The good news: I'm not as rusty as I had thought. The bad news: I'm 10 years older and 20 pounds heavier. I'm really enjoying the challenge of re-learning and re-discovering the game. And, I've kept a promise to myself that I would exercise a few times each week.

I also had the opportunity to learn about the bureaucracy of the Department of Motor Vehicles in North Carolina. Getting a driver's license was more work that I had ever imagined it would be. My first trip to the DMV resulted in an employee telling me that I could not get a license until I could bring a document that showed what my Middle name was. "A passport or birth certificate will do." she said.

I got back in my car and began the drive to the house. I started to ask myself "Why is this so important? What's the big deal about my middle name anyway?".

I found myself getting caught up trying to understand why this was important to the DMV, and how inconvenient it was to me. What I figured out next, is this heart of this week's Friday News Minute. 

Its not important that you understand...especially when it is something out of your control

I could have tried to argue (unsuccessfully, I'm quite sure) with the DMV employee. I could have claimed that I didn't understand "why" this was so important. I could have reasoned that they didn't need it in Florida, so why here?

Fortunately, in the moment of trying to understand why this was happening, I remembered this wisdom of an old friend that said: "Are you trying to understand the situation, or are you trying to convince someone that they are wrong and that you are right?" 

The situation with the North Carolina DMV was a great reminder of letting go of the need to understand the policy when it really isn't important that I did. Oh, and should I mention that not liking the policy isn't going to change the situation anyway. :>)

Often, we don't understand how people make decisions or how they could have acted a certain way. We question their thinking, motives and actions...trying to understand how they could have done whatever they did. Yet in the act of trying to understand why, we can make an important mistake.

We assume that someone else's behavior or some policy at the DMV is really about us. It isn't.

Let's be clear about something: Other people's actions and rules and policies do affect us. But many times they are not about us. So in the moment of a given situation you have a decision to make:

Do I spend my time and energy getting mad, frustrated and disappointed trying to "understand why" (and then find myself complaining to someone else later) or do I look at the situation and determine what I need to do next.

One decision can keep you stuck in trying to understand. The other decision can help you to take the action needed.

Now that you know good friend's wisdom is available to you when you need it.

Andrew Sanderbeck