Today I want to introduce one of the transformational power tools I use as a coach.
Yielding, or the art of getting your way by giving in.
My first conscious encounter with yielding, or better the lack thereof, was in American traffic. I lived in Germany at the time and was on one of my trips to the US to learn my craft as a leadership coach. Yielding had come up in my life, especially in my relationship, but so far I had refused to pay attention to it. I was impatient and pressured and I wanted things to go my way. I considered myself to be down to earth and practical, with a very clear understanding of how things worked.
Our training took place in Austin, TX and on that specific day I was driving around town running some errands for the workshop. Everything was going smooth, I was on time and things were under control.
I drove up to a big intersection with cars coming down a hill. I had to turn left and the light was green. I saw a big sign telling me to yield and confidently, I turned. In that moment everything changed. I saw a big truck coming down the hill and for some strange reason it wasn’t slowing down. I tried to get out of the way but it was too late. The truck slammed into the side of my van, pushing it across the intersection. Things came to a sudden stop. Trembling, I got out of the car. The driver of the truck approached me with an angry look on his face. What was wrong with him? People gathered and the police was there in minutes. I was confused. Why did everybody seem to think that this was my fault?
I did find out the true meaning of yielding eventually, and how to navigate through life – and traffic- by giving in to others. It was not always easy yet it has changed my life in many amazing ways.
Yielding in Action:
Imagine you and your partner are having an argument. You want to solve an issue one way and he wants to handle it differently. During the conversation you try to get your way. Neither one gives in. Things get heated up and you both get angry and frustrated. “How can he be so stubborn?” “Why in the world can’t she understand a simple fact?
Sounds familiar? Two people trying to get their way by forcing their point of view on the other person. Instead of solving the problem it turns into a power struggle of who’s right. In the process a lot of energy is wasted, harmony is lost and an opportunity for cooperation has turned into a fight.
Let’s take the same situation. You and your partner are having the same argument and this time you give in. Instead of pushing your own point, you listen to him and put yourself in his shoes. You can say: “I get your point” or, “that sounds like a good idea, I have not thought of this.” Once you have his attention, tell him what you had in mind. Do this in an open way. “What do you think of this idea? Have you thought of doing it this way?” Chances are that he will be more open to listen to you without feeling attacked. This way you’ll be able to handle the issue without a fight.
Write down 10 situations where you argued or tried to get your way by using force. How did the situation unfold? Did you get what you wanted? Now, look at each situation and think of ways you could have solved the issue by yielding. Would the situation and the outcome have changed? When doing this exercise, be honest with yourself and keep your sense of humor.
Want to share your observations or express your thoughts? Just add your comments below or simply write to me. I’d love to hear from you.
In next week’s post I’ll show you how to use yielding to give into the pressures in your life. This will help you to relax, get out of your own way and follow your life’s natural rhythm.
Photo Source: Sebastian Danon via stock.xchng