You may not think very often about the random strangers and passing acquaintances you encounter every day, but take a moment to think about them now: Who do you have frequent contact with on a daily or weekly basis?
The couple who owns the dry cleaner down the street? The waiter/waitress at your favorite lunch spot? The customers and prospects you call on if you’re a salesperson trying to make your quota? Or maybe your co-workers or children’s teachers?
If you had to make a list of all those passing interactions, who would be on your list?
A New Perspective
When you think about it, all the people on your list are people from whom you want something, to one degree or another. Of course, wanting your dry cleaner to clean your clothes well or your waiter to bring your food out in a timely fashion isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it is their job, after all, and you are probably paying for it. But even so, when we want something from people it can be all too easy to reduce them to dollar signs rather than thinking of them as people with lives and ambitions and challenges beyond their interactions with us.
But what if we changed the way we viewed them? Instead of seeing people through the transactional, self-focused lens of our own schedules and needs, what if we saw them through the eyes of their needs and their schedules?
How much impact could we have – in life, relationship, and business – if we simply treated people from their perspective rather than the lens of what we need from them that day?
Pain Points & Partners
We recently brought this mindset to the attention of a medical product company that works with doctors around the United States. During our meeting we challenged their sales team to change their perspective from being salespeople to becoming business partners to their doctor partners.
That perspective flip would require them to recalibrate their thinking about those they are “selling” to. In fact, instead of selling, their job would be to solve – to solve the issues of those in front of them, rather than trying to get something out of them. Sometimes those issues would relate directly to sales efforts, but sometimes it would simply be a matter of freely offering contacts, knowledge, or skills for the sake of becoming a true partner that looks out for the best interests of the other.
Here are a few of the questions we posed to the sales team:
- What does the doctor really need right now?
- What are their main pressure/pain points that you can solve?
- What does the office manager need?
- How can you help the nurses in their work?
- If the receptionist was your sibling, how would you treat them?
The key is that when you walk in the shoes of others, you feel the holes that have been worn open from life and you experience the particular pains that come from walking in their unique shoes. Understanding those pain points enables you to empathize and understand where they are coming from. Once you fully adopt that perspective, it becomes second nature to empathize and even requires less and less effort to pick up those glasses and see the world through another’s eyes. The truly difficult part, however, is the transition process – the self-conditioning required to reprogram your thinking and reverse priorities from yours to theirs.
Reprogramming Your Mindset
So, how do you do it? How do you make that transition?
The foundation is simple, but the execution is hard. The reconditioning process is challenging, but always rewarding.
Ultimately, the answer is that you have to die to yourself.
You have to give up the narrowing of focus that centers on your needs, agendas, pressures, and quotas at the cost of making relationship with others nothing more than a transaction on the way to your own wants and desires. We published an article about this very topic recently and freely admit that the self, unfortunately, doesn’t like to give up its position easily.
But once you see the glimmer of life and benefits this transition brings, you’ll find it worth the effort to exchange your eyes for theirs.
The fact is, when you die to yourself and begin to see things from another’s perspective, you gain a fuller view of life, greater opportunity, and a lasting peace about who you are and how you live with the world.
When you give yourself to others and serve their needs they notice and respond with opportunity, friendship, and trust – all things that make for a more satisfying and more profitable work-life experience than the churn-and-burn, get-what-you-want-and-leave mentality.
At the core of relationship is the simple fact that people just want you to slow down and understand where they are coming from. When this happens your world turns upside down – flipping from transaction-focused to relationship-focused.
So, for those wishing to experience greater quality of life, deeper relationships, and a bigger bottom line, put relationship before opportunity and spend time getting to know others and how you can serve their agenda before your own.
This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how flipping your perspective from self to others-focused can affect your leadership, relationships, and bottom line, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!