Winter in Canada.
And more snow.
It never ends.
That's just the way it goes.
Of course, we weren't the only ones hit with wild snow storms this year, but in Canada, it really just represents a way of life for at least 5 months out
of the year. Every year.
One day last week, I was driving my daughter, Ferne, to her sewing class. At one point along my route, I came to a stop, and witnessed a van on the other
side of the street heading my way. The van seemed to be going a little faster than the speed limit and it came to an abrupt stop at the stop sign.
Whoosh - all of a sudden, the snow that was sitting on the roof of the van came tumbling over the front windshield to cover it entirely. The driver and
passengers were blindsided. They couldn't see out of their front window - it was completely snowed over. The snow was so heavy that the wipers could barely
move. They were stuck, and a line-up of cars was forming behind them.
I turned to Ferne and started teaching her lessons...
"It's very important to always wipe down your car before driving. You see what can happen? That can cause a very severe accident."
In the back of my mind, I began forming the introduction to this article... thinking about how the snow on the top of one's car represents all of the hidden
beliefs that one carries around without any awareness. Even though the windows of the van were clear, the passengers were still at risk - this is similar
to so many of my clients who go merrily along their way until a crisis or some kind of adversity blindsides them.
Often, when hardship strikes, they spin out of control and all kinds of anxiety, worry, and concern invade their thoughts. Really, if all they did was
clean off their roofs regularly, the snow wouldn't accumulate and cause such a gigantic and harsh blindside. What I am trying to say is that if people take
the time to clean up their beliefs and their thinking on a regular basis, then adversity won't be as hard to handle.
"What a brilliant article," I thought.
A couple of minutes after I dropped off Ferne at her class, I headed home.
I accelerated, perhaps a little bit above the speed limit.
I noticed a stop sign and came to an abrupt stop.
Whoosh - the snow from my roof came tumbling over my front windshield. For a quick moment, I had trouble seeing but I quickly used my windshield
wipers to get rid of the snow. It was a relatively light accumulation. At first I thought, "Damn - now what? My article no longer makes any sense. How can
I write an article about cleaning off your roof, when my own roof was covered in snow?"
Then I realized the key difference. I recovered from being blindsided with relative speed and agility because the snow on my windshield was not thick and
debilitating. It did not stop me in my tracks and cause a traffic jam. It was fairly easy to manage and that is a result of usually keeping my roof clean.
So... here's the key - we will all experience being blindsided at one point or another, just like we will all experience some kind of adversity throughout
our lifetimes. That's not something we can control. However, our ability to bounce back from the experience highly influences the fluidity of our ride, or
rather, the longevity of our success. Our speed of recovery determines the amount of time we will be stuck in traffic or breezing through the streets with
a clear view ahead.
The question really is - are there areas in your life where you could benefit from doing a little roof cleaning of your own?
There is one skill that deeply enhances your personal and professional relationships - and consequently improves every single area of your life. It is a
skill that makes you more likeable, more engaged and more informed. What is it, you ask? It is the skill of genuine interest.
Think back for a moment to the last people who asked you, "How are you doing?" "How's your week going?" or "What are you working on?" What kind of a
conversations ensued? How did you feel after these conversations?
This week I made an effort to show sincere interest in the people I crossed paths with. I also took note of the sentiments that surfaced when people took
genuine interest in me.
I walked into Sport Check, a sporting goods store, this past weekend, and a sales rep immediately approached me. "Can I help you with anything?" she asked.
"Yes," I replied. "I'm looking for a fall jacket for my travels to Europe in a few months. Can you recommend anything?"
"Wow, that's awesome," she replied. "I lived in Switzerland for a year. Where are you planning on travelling?"
We had a pleasant conversation for five minutes, and I walked away thinking, "That was very nice of her to engage with me. She's good at her job."
The effect that curiosity and simple questions can have are remarkable in regards to your relationships with those around you. Genuine interest is what
leads to networking opportunities, first dates, friendships and memorable conversations.
A few months ago, I reached out to an organization called MAPP to ask if they'd like to partner with Frame of Mind Coaching for a webinar. MAPP offers a
career assessment test that delves into a person's strengths and matches them with fitting jobs.
I took the free version of the assessment and called the organization. I had a brief conversation with the gentleman who answered the phone, and he
mentioned he would put me in touch with the right person.
"Well thanks for calling," he said.
"I just want to say," I cut in, "that I was really fascinated by the assessment. I've taken many assessments and this one was spot on."
"Oh really?" He said excitedly, "Let me send you a free upgrade so you can see the full report of your results."
Dale Carnegie, author of the best-selling book How to Win Friends & Influence People, once said, "You can make more friends in two
months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."
It is undeniably true. Showing interest and listening to others with curiosity gives them a sense of importance and it paves the way for rich
Putting this skill to use is as simple as voicing the natural questions that arise throughout the day. It is the little comments that make the difference.
Utterances like: "What do you think of the showers at the gym?" or "I noticed that you came late to work today, is everything okay?" or "Tell me about your
day." can have a huge impact.
Author, speaker and pastor John C. Maxwell summed it up well when he said "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."
This week, try flexing your "genuine interest" muscle...and you'll see the wonderful warmth and opportunities that arise as a result of your good will.