You Control Your Interpretations

Years ago, I launched a course based on my book, which evolved over time and is now part of the foundation of The Connected Leader Course.


I’ll never forget this one woman who was in the pilot program. Loving a small world moment, we figured out that she knew someone who lived in my neighborhood and whose son was in the same class as my son.


I didn’t actually know her well, but I did know her. When this woman mentioned that she had a friend in my town, I excitedly asked, “how do you know her?” Turns out they were very, very close friends. I thought this was a wonderful exchange building on a common connection, only to realize later that she experienced the exchange quite differently.


At the end of the day, she came up and shared her initial experience of me. She explained that when I asked her, “How do you know Jill?” (intended with excited curiosity) She heard, “How do YOU know Jill?” (heard with a tone of somehow devaluing her position in Jill’s life and being very derogatory in the question.)


She added, “I now understand that is not how you meant it.” I confirmed her revised interpretation and thanked her for sharing her feelings with me. I really admired her courage and vulnerability in admitting that to me. It was also really eye-opening, for both of us.


Had I been her coach at the time, I probably would have asked why she made the choice to interpret me that way. It reminds me of a quote in a book which is…


We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can control how we interpret and respond to what happens to us.”


During the entire class, I thought this woman was hating me and miserable. Perhaps she was because of how she interpreted the question I asked. Later in the day, she shared that people always think she is angry because she has resting bitch face.


I was surprised by all these miscalculations and misinterpretations between me and this woman, in both directions.


Do you wonder how many times you’ve had those moments and not even been aware of how wrong your misinterpretations might have been?


What can you do?

  1. Simply think about how you prefer to interpret something and maybe opt for the positive, the preferred, or the benefit of the doubt.
  2. Keep working on yourself. The Connected Leader Course focuses on adopting a relationship first approach, enhancing communication, building trust, and determining your brand.


Want to learn more about the opportunity and get an exclusive offer (that’s not on the website at all)?  Join the next informational webinar on April 4th at 1pm EST.  Register HERE.

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