Assumptions can get us into trouble. When we allow assumptions to serve as certainty, we often end up delaying necessary decisions, avoiding needed action, or reacting to situations inappropriately. Assumptions can cause us to misinterpret others’ actions. They can drive a limiting-belief mindset that prevents us from achieving. They are usually the cause of horrible misunderstandings.
When faced with an assumption, ask yourself: What do I know to be true versus what do I believe to be true?
Our beliefs often masquerade as knowledge, even though they are editorial thoughts filtered through perception, and perception is only a lens on reality.
Recently, a client reached out wanting to finish updating her resume. Let’s call her Melissa. Melissa had paid for a resume update in 2020. As part of my New Year’s resolutions for myself and my business, I vowed that I would no longer personally edit people’s resumes. In order to continue to support resume services under greyzone, I hired a team of resume writers to provide the hands-on editing clients need.
Now I was faced with my first big test: Was I truly ready to fully delegate and keep my promise to myself? Should I finish Melissa’s resume? The narrative I played in my head said that she had paid the money intending for me to be the one doing the work, solely me. I crafted a story that she would feel slighted if I passed her project on to someone else. I decided that she wouldn’t find the value in what she had paid for because she had paid me to do her resume. I let myself take this thinking even further, deciding that her opinion of my business would be tainted because I would let her down. I should just finish this one resume, I decided. It was only one. What was the big deal?
Yet I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I really, really didn’t want to work on the resume, and I was getting busier than ever with coaching and lacked the bandwidth for this project. Taking it on meant that other priorities would suffer.
So what happened next? Here’s our email exchange:
Me: Yay! You’re getting back to it. My 2021 resolution is not to do resumes anymore. I’m going to suggest you partner with one of my resume writers – I think this doc could benefit from a fresh set of eyes. Are you okay with me making an intro? You’ve already paid for the edit, so I’ll take care of getting them properly compensated.
[Insert me biting my nails, waiting for a response.]
Melissa: That would be great! And I love that you are focusing. I’m reading a book on simplifying your life and it sounds like you are focusing on the right things for your passions and skills. LOVE. IT!
[Wait … what? She’s not only not mad, she’s proud of me? How did this happen?]
Me: Thanks for the support. It’s funny, I was nervous to email you, worried about your perception of me not committing to what I started. So fascinating to observe how people interpret actions.
Melissa: Thank you for sharing that. It’s validating that the stories I might tell myself about what people think are also just stories. Also, I just finished the chapter on ways to say no without saying no. You nailed it! XO
Talk about a teachable moment. When we step into our authentic truth, when we enter Brené Brown’s proverbial “arena,” we are often delighted by what we find. Brené talks about the importance of daring greatly and using courageousness to speak our truths.
While I thought I would be upsetting a client, I was in fact impressing one. While I felt like I was shirking responsibility, she perceived it as focusing for success.
One of the hardest parts about being a coach is holding yourself to the highest standard possible. I’m a guide for my clients and I need to always do the right thing, speak my truth, and communicate with tact, dignity, assertiveness, and humility. It’s challenging some days to know the right path. When we follow our intuition and challenge our assumptions, the path isn’t confusing, it’s clear. It may be scary, sure, but it’s the only true path to follow.
The next time you’re faced with a situation of miscommunication, ask yourself “What do I know to be true versus what I believe to be true?” The reality might surprise you and inspire you to take action in bold new ways.