“Endeavors require deliberate choices and much perseverance.”
– Gary Thomas in “Sacred Influence”
Author Gary Thomas writes, “Hope is not a strategy.” While Thomas’ text is specifically challenging women to be active and bold, he offers a principle that is relevant to all.
Whatever our social circumstance, inaction, Thomas says, is by far riskier than action. In relational terms, respect, the giving it and receiving it, are both keys to longevity and success. Doesn’t matter if we’re talking about personal or workplace encounters, everyone appreciates and responds more positively if they’re being treated with courtesy and dignity. If we want to have high quality, mutually satisfying interchanges with others, then we have to make deliberate choices and be willing to persevere over the long haul.
As we offer someone the respect that we ourselves value, a transaction can take place. Now we find ourselves in a position to both persuade and influence. We’re not talking about learning to manipulate for one’s own gain. Rather, we offer others persuasive reasons to keep at it when discouragement hits an all-time high. When life’s stresses and demands overwhelm and despair sets in, we provide a fresh perspective.
By being respectful men and women, we can extend the priceless benefit of encouragement when it’s most needed.
Nothing in life happens by accident. We have to look beyond the immediate and into the future. Just as we instruct our children in the ways of looking further than today’s gratification, so we must adopt that far-reaching attitude for all our relationships. Simply asking ourselves how we might affect a person’s day by our words, both what we choose to say and how we say it, holds great power.
In every conversation, there is potential. The question is, are we too busy, so distracted, that we forfeit our influence in favor of lesser benefits. Or do we grow into mature individuals who take care with our actions for the well being of all?
We always need to remember that forward thinking is key to successful interpersonal relationships. We can never assume or bank on past experiences. Today is the only time we have within our grasp to effect a positive outcome. What we say today impacts people tomorrow, too. Preparation is essential. Mental and practical preparedness can make or break an interaction. People can instinctively cue into a spirit of insincerity. It is often that gut feeling, that caution or inner-affirmation, that individuals rely on most when deciding whether or not to trust.
Do nothing by accident. Instead, ask yourself if you’ve given adequate time to prepare yourself for this day’s interactions. If not, remedy the error before the cost is too great.
Tips for making the most of daily opportunities:
- Think before, not after, starting conversations.
- Ask yourself, what does the other person need of me?
- Look beyond the surface to what is driving the individual’s words.
- Be consistently respectful, reasonable, and responsive.
- Don’t just hope, decide and act.
- Make it your goal to befriend everyone you meet on some level.
- Speak responsibly, words either give life or take it.