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How Do You Relate to People Who Are Unconscious or Don’t Get It?

Jim Dethmer
/
May 17, 2016
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One of the most common questions people ask at our training events is: “How do I relate to people in my life who aren’t living this way?” Or, when we’re beginning this work in organizations with the senior team, they often ask, “How do I use this when others in the organization don’t yet know about it?” If you’re asking these (or similar) questions, here are a few thoughts:

1. Pay attention to yourself and your own practice. For quite awhile as you’re learning how to live and lead consciously, we strongly recommend that you keep your attention on your business and stay out of other people’s business. (This is actually a great approach to life in general.) For example, spend time noticing whether you’re above or below the line and don’t worry about whether anyone else is. Get impeccable about your own agreements and don’t fret over whether anyone else is impeccable about theirs. In our experience, if you pay attention to your own consciousness, often people around you start to shift theirs without knowing anything about this work. For example, if you start living in appreciation, others often start appreciating you and their world as well.

2. If you are practicing these commitments regularly, people will start to notice a difference in how you are living and leading. When they make comments or ask what is the cause of the change, we encourage you to share with them what you have been learning. When you do this, we recommend you do NOT take on the role of teacher or instructor. Rather, give them a book like The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership or have them watch some of our animations (www.conscious.is). Tell them you’ll be happy to talk about what they are learning and how you can relate to their experience. Let go of any desire to convince them that this is the right way to be. Becoming right about anything, including how to live consciously, is a trap of the ego.  

3. Once others around you have been introduced to the concepts of conscious leadership, you now have an opportunity to co-commit to living above the line. Co-commitment means that two people, or a whole team, articulate to one another their commitments to live consciously. It is the basis of all conscious relationships. What this looks like is people saying to one another, “I commit to take responsibility and end blame and criticism.” (Commitment #1). Or, “I commit to speak candidly and listen consciously.” (Commitment #4). Once people have stepped into a co-committed relationship, the game really changes. Now we become learning partners with each other. The simple reality is that all of us drift off of our commitment. When we do drift our learning partners or teammates can invite us to shift back to our commitment. This is not a game of “gotcha.” Rather, it’s a team standing for each other and for our shared commitment to radically change the way we are leading and working. We encourage you to find playful ways to invite one another back to your commitments. In our experience, it can be fun.   

4. If others around you are uninterested in living consciously, the first key step is to recognize that there is nothing wrong with them. In fact, this can be a great source of learning. As you bump up against their unconscious actions you get to learn from your reactions to them, learn what pushes your buttons, and re-commit to your conscious action. You also have some choices. You can stay in relationship with them in a non-judgmental and non-critical way (putting learning first), or you can decide to get out of relationship with them. Sometimes the big message is that it's time for you to move on.

About the Author
Jim Dethmer

Jim has been coaching leaders and supporting individuals, groups, and organizations to optimize their effectiveness. Potent and practical, he see issues clearly and communicates next steps crisply. Jim works with Fortune 200 CEOs across all industries, and co-authored the book—High Performing Investment Teams—to support his work with leading asset management organizations around the world.