What do Cars and Character have in Common?

Have you noticed that there are Car People and then there are Car People?   Car People have their fancy car and they wash it religiously each weekend, taking every opportunity to stand proudly by it and makes sure everyone sees it. But these Car People don’t know much more about the insides of their cars than the specs the salesman sprouted to get them to buy it.

Then there are the Car People. These are usually mechanics. They know cars! Particularly their favourite kind of car. If you see them with their car you usually can’t see their head because it’s under the bonnet or under the body. They have grease on their hands, clothes, shoes. When Car People start talking cars it doesn’t take long before it sounds like they are speaking a totally foreign language! Car People also clean their cars regularly, but not so they are shiny on the outside just to grab attention, they also clean the engine!

Then there’s me. I do the petrol and oil and water thing. I take it to the mechanic for a service twice a year. Either God washes my car with rain or our church youth group does it once a year for a fundraiser. And that’s about it. I’m not a Car Person.

Finally there’s Non Car People. They have a car. They put petrol in it. And that’s it. As long as it works ok that’s it. Even the red check engine light doesn’t get their attention.

Have you noticed this about cars and people?

Have you noticed that people treat themselves in the same way? There are  Car People who think that it’s enough to look good on the outside. They wear the “right” clothes, have all the “right” stuff. Shiny and clean, attention grabbing. Inside? Well, they don’t really know much about what’s happening on the inside or who they really are. They can quote the general stats – job, family numbers, hobbies, height and weight. But they don’t know much more about who they are.

Car People  are those who know who they are. Sanguine, controller, D, ENTJ, golden retriever, introvert, quality time, feeler, relator, influencer, global, auditory are just some of the words they will use to describe who they are in a totally foreign language. They may also look after their appearance but like the mechanic, they are more concerned about what’s happening on the inside, with their character, than on the outside.

Thirdly there’s those who know a little and do a little about their character and who they are. They may do a quiz or two but don’t spend time considering or applying what they have discovered. They may read a book or two but don’t really work on their character. It’s mostly taking a little from opportunities put in their path, like a youth car wash or annual registration check up.

Finally there are those who do nothing. They don’t know who they are and they don’t care. Character is not a word they use and they are not intentional about developing theirs. Life just happens.

I may not know much about cars and I may not take real good care of mine, but I hope that I do better with my character and learning about who I am.

Question: Are you interested in learning about who you are? Leave your comment below.

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But I told you!

“I didn’t hear you. “”I didn’t get the message.” “You never said that.” “How many times do I have to tell you!?!”

It doesn’t matter what the message is, we’ve all been in that situation where a message we tried to give didn’t get through. We believed that we’ve communicated it well enough but no one seems to have heard us. Take this  example, one verbal comment is made to a hundred staff to wear casual dress at work next Monday. On Monday, only about 30% of the staff are in casual dress. Would you say the message got through? I’d say not.

I have adopted several presuppositions to live by and one is:

“Communication is the response you get.”

The power of this belief is that the responsibility of the result of the communication is in the hand of the communicator. With this belief I can’t blame others when they don’t respond the way I expected. Excuses like “you weren’t listening” and “I told you” are no longer acceptable. Instead, as the communicator, their response (or lack of it) becomes my responsibility. Maybe I used the wrong method of communication, I didn’t use the right words, or I picked an inappropriate time. And I can change it.

When I leave responsibility for the response to my communication with my audience, I assume I have no power to influence their response. When I assume the responsibility for communication is my responsibility, I have the power to change the response by changing my communication until I get the desired result.

When I presume that communication is the response I get, I can be proactive. I assess the communications and watch to see what response I get. Then I make appropriate changes and continually learn so that I can become a better communicator.

In the workplace I have chosen to learn how different colleagues like to be communicated with. Adam responds well to emails and will get back to you within a few minutes. Lyn is very busy and is always days behind in emails but will reply to a voicemail within a day. Adele likes sticky notes left on her screen, but if you want to get hold of Rochelle, use MSN. How do I know this, because when I sent a message via one of their non-preferred methods I didn’t get my desired response. When I changed my method, I got the response I want – a quick reply.

Question: Do you agree with this presupposition? What communication tips and tricks have you learnt? Share your wisdom with us through the Comments below.

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It’s Valentines Day and my Christmas Decorations are still up!

Many people would be ashamed to make such a confession, particularly as their very first post! But believe it or not I’m just a teeny bit proud that the full glory of Christmas still adorns my home. Continue reading