Heart of a Leader

Leadership Matters

I Must Be Right!

The other day, I had a meeting with someone. I put the meeting on my calendar, when it was originally booked. Subsequently, the other person called, and asked to change it to a bit later in the day. I agreed.

Time for the appointment came and I forgot the phone conversation. I only saw what was on my calendar. I was surprised that he was late. I sent an email asking if he was OK, and then got on to other things. At the time agreed upon in the phone call, he arrived.

Still not remembering the change, I greeted him and said I thought the meeting was at the time on my calendar. He reminded me of the phone call. I still didn’t remember and here is where the lesson begins, rather than stepping back and saying to myself, “Maybe I forgot something”, I said, “Let me see if I can make this work.” I spent a few minutes rearranging the day, and then put my attention on our conversation.

The meeting was great. I am grateful for my ability to be present, no matter the turmoil of the preceding minutes. My wife (she sure shows up here a lot) was outside our house, where I have an office and witnessed this process. She reminded me later of how I had handled it.

Her observation gave me food for thought. What was going on that both created the “forgetfulness” and then my reaction? The part about forgetfulness was easy. When I spoke to this person, I wasn’t present with him. I remember now the call, and it came in the middle of a busy afternoon. I looked at my calendar during the call, and saw there was no conflict with the request. As soon as the call was completed, I went back to what I was doing.

The more interesting, and important, lesson for me is the programming I have to be right. I was sure that I had an appointment with this person at the time on my calendar. I was sure they were late. I never considered that I was the cause of the confusion.

How many times do I come into a relationship with the certainty that I know the truth of the situation? Maybe, I believe I know what some action they or I took means. Perhaps I believe our history is a true guide for how things are RIGHT NOW.

Whatever the reason, I am committed to being right. This isn’t just in these types of situations. I remember riding around Lake Tahoe many years ago with a friend. He was expressing his opinion about something (i no longer remember the details) and I immediately wanted to set him straight. He chuckled and said, “I knew you would see this differently than me.” I didn’t take the hint about my behavior and, in retrospect appreciate, his compassion.

I see this in my relationship with my wife. For example, this morning, she asked me to make some pesto from the fresh basil she harvested. I listened to her telling me how to do it, and my response was, “I know how to make pesto.” She remarked that that may be true, but she was offering a different approach to making pesto. I stopped and realized that I wanted to be right about making pesto and didn’t open myself initially to listening.

I find this is a common occurrence. I want to be the one who knows. This is a source of power for me. I know the cost, and it still happens automatically.

I find this present a lot in the talk radio world. People call to have support for their opinions and seem to vilify those who have different views. Being right helps me over the belief that I’m not enough. We’ve talked about that before. It’s a common thread of our humanity.

So what do you believe it’s important for you to be right about? Does being right bring you harmony in life? Do it gain something that truly important to you? Questions that may offer some valuable insights!

I’m sharing this with you so you, too, may take a look at your need to be right. A friend recently commented on this blog that it was like he was the priest in my confessional. I’ve thought about that, and in one sense he’s right. I am using this writing to open myself in service to you. I look around, from time to time, to discern what I’m not sharing. It’s always a clue that leads me to discovering other areas of self-deception. This makes our relationship one that I am grateful for each time I write.

Thank you!

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3 thoughts on “I Must Be Right!

  1. Of course,I have NEVER has this problem!

    HA!!!!! Once again, Thomas, thanks for turning the mirror to me……

  2. Thomas – Your honest self-introspection invites us all to be better people. Thanks for your courage to be honest, and your courage to share it with us.

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