Years ago, I heard Peter Block (affiliate link) interviewed about the way he interacts with clients. I jotted down a question he likes to ask. It’s a blunt question and it gets straight to an important discernment:
Do you want an “A,” or do you want something to change?
I like this question a great deal and ask it of myself not infrequently. Do I want to pat myself on the back after a difficult interaction that has not yet been sorted out, or do I want something to change? Which is more important to me, right now and for the future?
Sometimes, I see myself so wanting acknowledgement for handling something well that I’m stuck in that place until I get the acknowledgement. I see this when working with clients, too. It is not unreasonable to want a thumbs up when it’s deserved.
Yet all the thumbs up in the world probably won’t get either of us closer to solutions. We must be willing to do something different if we want something to change. Us, not them. Because they’re expecting the same “A” we are. We’re each waiting for the other. Who will step up?
When you’re stuck in a conflict and trying to figure your way out, it’s important to discern which you want more: A pat on the back or for something to change between you. Start asking yourself Peter Block’s question. Understand I may ask it of you, too.
Image credit: Kai Stachowiak