You know those success stories of people who were like 900 pounds as a kid and then they grew up to become a health coach? Or like those stories of people who advocate against drunk driving because they got like 4.5 DUIs? Or haven’t you seen those drug programs that claim they can fix you because they’ve been where you are?
So, I’ve been on this bettering myself kick. No really. Kick. Eating healthy, exercise, scheduling things at their levels of importance—aka not freaking the F*&^% out when there isn’t anything I can do to change a certain thing… and I realized:
The key to it all is: Levels.
You have to love people at their levels, appreciate them at their level, speak to them at their level. And so on. Everything you do, you have to do it from the eyes of the person who will be receiving your input. When you speak to your boss, you have to anticipate what he or she will say in response—this way you’re ready with your explanation, rebuttal, or nod of understanding.
When you teach a class (or when I teach a class/or have in the past) I usually think about my audience and how I might best speak to them as students or almost-teachers, etc. I do this especially when I mentor someone.
But when I go apeshit yellin’ at my son about the clean clothes (his chores—mind you) and how they aren’t folded and picked up, I forget that technique. He’s not going to want to because there isn’t much incentive in folding up the bathroom towels and color-coding them from light to dark carefully between two closets and an armoire cabinet. But if there was something in it for him other than his Mom’s face cherry-colored, or my tantrums around the house if he doesn’t, he might, and I say might heavily, *might* listen.
I was giving a person some advice he didn’t ask for the other day when it dawned on me. I’m not speaking to him on his level. I wasn’t giving him information he wanted to hear, so not only am I not speaking to him at his level, but he is shut off of me. Really, he is off. There is no green light, battery dead.
I’ve known this before but never implemented it. Never experimented with the process of persuasion or eloquent communication. I am, after all, the likeliest one to go bananas considering I’m a two-year un-recovering psychology dropout who went on to get her degree in management, then creative writing, but works in (web coordination/technical writing) publicity.
So aside from the fact that said gentleman did not, ask for my advice, I was slightly surprised when he wouldn’t even let me finish my sentence. I do this sometimes so that part didn’t bother me as much as his response time. Since this was over the phone, I could hear how long of a breath he took before he snapped back with some other random detail. Worse than that I could NOT hear his moment of silence or thought (did he even think about what I said?) as he digested the information. Cutting me off doesn’t generally bother me as much if what he is cutting me off to say proves he understands the information I’ve conveyed. But when he has cut me off only to misunderstand once again now that, that burns my bridge up and down the hillside.
Keep in mind: I did this very thing to someone the other day. I cut them off mid-sentence so eager and over excited to prove I was right, when if I had only listened longer, I’d have seen I was incredibly wrong. Wrong track, wrong examples I’d started to give, wrong terminology, I’d wholeheartedly gotten the wrong idea.
I wanted the person I was talking to, to understand how much I knew already which would inform her that I could apply what else I was going to learn. I wanted her to know how much I was going to try until I figured it out—or now that I think of it, what it meant to me. She only wanted me to shut the —- up, and listen for a second.
I wanted for her to talk to me at the level that isn’t condescending, in a way that doesn’t say ‘you don’t know anything yet so just listen,’ I wanted her to give me a miniscule amount of credit for how far I’ve come at this point. Instead, she just repeated the part I understood, and further repeated the part I didn’t understand at all.
I kept thinking to myself… [sweetie, if i don't understand you explaining it that way, there's-no-way from-here-to-down-around-the-way-or-Wednesday that I'm about to understand you better if you keep repeating it to me in the same way or context, as though I am hard of hearing]
She wasn’t speaking to me at my level. She was dumbing everything down in such a way that I couldn’t understand anything until eventually all my words went numb. I gave her a quiet nod because I felt bad that she’d had to ask me to “let her finish.”
When I realized the advice to my friend wasn’t warranted, I realized many other hypocritical mistakes I’ve made. I’ve asked of others, something I hadn’t executed myself. This I equate to the kid you tell to “Do as I say not as I do.”
You will inevitably catch that monkey (kid) doing just as you do. Monkey see, monkey do. I’ve set some goals in motion this year, not resolutions, just goals. I’m a bad bitch. I like the raunchy nature of the sound of it, and the definition is honest. Goals I meet, resolutions lapse. To do this I’ve been going back to my old psychology books, self-help reads, and my “driven” books.
I have found that you have to communicate with a person at their level because you’ll be painfully disappointed if you don’t. You’ll expect something they never had the capacity to give to you. Asking questions is imperative. Experiencing a person in their element, definitely. You have to be around the people who better you. The people who you not only want to reflect you, people who compliment your goals and respect you.
My friend calls me the other night completely wasted either coming from or going to a club, likely already inebriated. I almost missed that fake happiness I used to find there. Almost.
Homegirl: Whatchoo doin’?
Me: On my way to becoming The Best Version of Me.
Homegirl: Pwaahhhh!!! [Click]
Please see also Wale’s Illest Bitch Alive. Immediately:
And if you haven’t heard: Passive Aggress-her you are really missing.
- Memoir’s Epilogue
- Agent Research
- Eating Pretzel Crisps (Buffalo Wing Flavor)
- Product Description Writing
Been rocking out to this Boyce Avenue Cover of Taylor Swift’s Last Kiss:
You loved my handshake, meeting your father
Said you loved how I walked with my hands in my pockets
I’ve been quite busy with back to back clients! Thanks everyone.
Definitely hoping to take on more fashion and product description writing.
A recommendation is the best form of flattery, ever. I love my readers, and lurkers.
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